Ryanair acknowledges flight attendant union for the first time
The low-cost carrier Ryanair signed an agreement with workers unions representing flight attendants in Italy on June 6, 2018 - three months after signing similar agreement with pilots.
The Irish-based airline confirmed it reached an agreement with the two main unions representing its Italian pilots and flight attendants, respectively the Associazione Nazionale Professionale Aviazione Civile (ANPAC) and the Associazione Nazionale Professionale Assistenti di Volo (ANPAV). The unions and Ryanair are now working towards defining a collective labor agreement (CLA) for the Italian employees.
80 of 444 Boeing 737-800s from Ryanair mono-plane fleet are based in Italy and its Italian workforce accounts for 20% of its European flight assistants. 3 millions of passengers are transported yearly by the company in Italy.
Ryanair already recognized two other pilot unions, the British BALPA on January 30, 2018, and already the Italian ANPAC on March 8, 2018. Yet it is the first agreement ever established between the Irish LCC and its cabin crew. “We are making good progress with other cabin crew unions across Europe and we hope to sign more recognition agreements with both pilot and cabin crew unions in the coming weeks,” said Ryanair’s Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson in the company’s press release.
However, Italian Uiltrasporti did not accept the outcome of the negotiations. The union is one of the five that on April 24, 2018, threatened to go on a European-wide summer strike, along with other employees from Spain, Portugal and Belgium. In an official statement, it condemned “the separate negotiation between pilots and flight attendants, with union interlocutors chosen by the employer, who represent only a part of the workers, [which] delivers the workers' mandate in the hands of the Company and disregards the provisions of our Constitution.” Uiltrasporti asked for an intervention from the newly elected government.
Discussions with the ANPAC and ANPAV started shortly after Ryanair announced it would recognize union representation for the first time in its 35 years of existence on December 15, 2017. Before then, employees were represented by internal committees. The policy led Ryanair to be sued in several countries. In 2014, it was condemned by the court of Aix-en-Provence to pay a fine of €8,3 million for employing local workers in Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) with an Irish contract. This allowed the company to pay only 10,75% in charges, compared to the 45% of contribution expected by the French legislation. Eventually, Ryanair closed its only base in France.
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