Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson has criticized Spanish unions for asking for “167%” salary increases and the government for bailing out airlines instead of lowering airport charges.
“You can’t ask for a raise when the economy is in free fall,” Wilson said at a media event in Madrid. “In recent years, Ryanair has reached agreements in all European countries. Spain is the only country in which nothing has been closed yet. The ball is not in our court.”
According to company sources explained to elDiario.es, Ryanair began in 2019 a process of transition from Irish legislation (through which it had hired its employees until then) to the specific legislation of each country. In this process, the airline has reached agreements with workers from “all countries” except Spain.
These same sources indicate that the collective agreement with the representatives of the pilots, through the Sepla union, is close, but that it is difficult for them to understand each other with the representatives of the service workers on board and in the cabin. The talks on this part are led by the USO and Sictpla unions. Ryanair claims to have requested a “mediator” from the Ministry of Labor to bring positions closer together.
From USO they clarify several things. The first: that they are negotiating a collective agreement, not a simple agreement, and that it must contain many clauses. The second: that the rise of 167% that Ryanair talks about comes from adding several “basic” concepts, such as guards, nights or extra payments.
“We have a monthly salary stipulated in the contract and they pay us twelve monthly payments. We demand that they be fourteen or that the remaining two be prorated,” says Lidia Arasanz, general secretary of the union section. “We took all the aviation agreements in Spain and, although we would all like to have the Iberia agreement, we understand that it is a low-cost and we do not ask for crazy things. We don’t ask for more than the rest. ”
Arasanz adds that the company wants to negotiate the tables based on current salaries, reduced by an average of 20% due to the pandemic and with a view to recovering them between now and 2024. This salary reduction was made in an agreed manner with the pilots, through the Sepla union, but it was unilaterally imposed on the cabin crew. Ryanair used the available legal mechanisms (the so-called ‘substantial modification of working conditions’) to reduce their salaries without the need for an agreement. USO denounced the reduction before the National Court and is waiting to see what the Justice says. In the last year, Ryanair has received up to seven convictions for labor abuses, all of them appealed.
They ask AENA to lower rates
The low-cost it has been claimed as a solution to the recovery of tourism in Spain, for which it has demanded a reduction in the airport charges established by AENA. The idea that he has conveyed is that, instead of rescuing bankrupt airlines, the government should incentivize those that operate with measures like this.
“It is time to stimulate the recovery of traffic and tourism and Ryanair is the best positioned”, defended the CEO. “We do not want Spain to lose an opportunity to regain capacity. We want a clear strategy.” Wilson explained that countries such as Greece or Sweden have implemented this type of measure, so Spain should follow in his footsteps to maintain its leadership in tourism.
The CEO has specifically mentioned the rescue of Air Europa, which lost 427.7 million euros last year and plans to ask for more public aid. “Why are you giving public money to a failed airline instead of making airports more competitive? Everyone in this room has had our first job in tourism. It’s important that people get back to work as quickly as possible.”
Ryanair also calls for the release of slots in the event that the purchase of Air Europa by Iberia is finally closed, in airports such as A Coruña, Gran Canaria or Vigo that the Globalia group company operates today so that they can switch to airlines that offer cheaper prices.
The airline has explained that it plans to recover 100% of its capacity this winter.