Dutch Ryanair pilots plan Friday strike as carrier takes union to court

Ryanair strike Pilots in the Netherlands to join Europe-wide strikes on Friday

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled will be informed by text or email, but all those travelling to and from the affected countries with Ryanair on Friday are advised to check with the airline.

Disgruntled pilots from the five countries will walkout for 24-hours today, throwing holiday plans into chaos in the height of the summer season.

One of the most severe was the 48-hour cabin crew strike on 25 and 26 July, which saw a total of 600 flights to and from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium cancelled, ruining the travel plans of 100,000 passengers.

Today's unprecedented simultaneous strike action by Ryanair pilots is the latest headache in a turbulent summer for Europe's second-largest airline.

Ryanair says it has made every effort to resolve the dispute.

Ryanair is facing a rising tide of protests from unions frustrated at the slow progress being made in negotiations over collective labour agreements.

The airline in recent days announced the cancellations of 250 flights in and out Germany, 104 to and from Belgium and another 42 affecting Sweden and Ireland.

A court in the Netherlands has told Ryanair pilots that they can join a wave of strike action planned across Europe for this Friday.

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The unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation.

The Ireland-based budget airline said the industrial action was "regrettable and unjustified" and called for unions to return to the negotiating table.

Customers were notified as early as possible and a majority of those affected had already been moved to another Ryanair flight, the airline added.

Last night it claimed that all its flights to and from the Netherlands would go ahead as scheduled despite the pilots' action over pay and conditions.

Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

The airline operates more than 2,000 flights a day, serving 223 airports across 37 countries in Europe and North Africa. He said Ryanair categorically ruled out any such increases at talks.

But its combative chief executive Michael O'Leary has also warned the airline may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas if the turmoil continues.

Peter Scherrer, deputy secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation, said he welcomed today's cross-border show of unity by pilots. The majority of customers have already been accommodated on another Ryanair flight.

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