With strikes on in the air and on the railways, Brits are in for a summer of travel chaos.
A number of walkouts by rail staff have already taken place in June and July, with further strikes to take place in a couple of weeks. The most recent national rail strike on Wednesday caused misery for travellers across the country, with many services cancelled or severely disrupted, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Ryanair staff based in Spain are also striking, with industrial action starting on August 7 and running all the way through to January 2023. The events come as part of bitter rows between staff and employers, over pay, redundancies and working conditions.
Further rail strikes are set to take place on Thursday, August 18 and Friday, August 20 after railway workers voted overwhelmingly to strike in the ongoing dispute with Network Rail.
On Wednesday, RMT boss Mick Lynch told Good Morning Britain hosts Ed Balls and Susanna Reid: “If we had a properly funded railway, we’d have a more secure future. Not just for the workers, but for the passengers, and we could have a proper fare structure that people could get value from. The railway would [then] run in the interests of the economy, the environment, and the users.”
Ryanair staff are also set to strike on dates across a huge five-month period.
After walk-outs on dates in June and July, two Spanish Ryanair cabin crew unions, Unión Sindical Obrera (USO) and Sitcpla, have called for a strike that will last five months running from August 8 through to January 7, 2023.
The industrial action will take place every week, from Monday to Thursday, and will last 24 hours, sources from USO told Euronews. However, Ryanair has said it expects minimal disruption in Spain this winter. Among unions’ demands is a call for the 11 staff members sacked during recent strikes to be reinstated.
Lidia Aransanz, a leader for USO’s Ryanair section, said: “As the company has been unable to listen to the workers, we have been forced to call new strike days”. She also said the unions are demanding 22 days of holiday and two extra months payment per year to comply with Spanish legislation.
This new action will mainly affect the airports of Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante, Seville and Palma de Mallorca. Both national and international connections will be disrupted.
In a statement Ryanair said, “Ryanair has recently reached an agreement with the main Spanish CCOO union on pay, rosters and allowances for its Spanish cabin crew. Recent strikes by USO/SITCPLA have been poorly supported with minimal effect.
“Ryanair has operated over 45,000 flights to/from Spain over the last three months with less than 1% affected by crewing and Ryanair expects minimal (if any) disruption this winter.”
The budget airline’s rival, easyJet, has also announced further strike action. Its pilots based in Spain will walk out for nine days in August amid a bitter row over pay and working conditions.
On Friday, the SEPLA union said on Friday said it is demanding that the budget airline re-establish pilots’ working conditions from before the pandemic. Union bosses also want the airline to provide its pilots with a new multi-year contract deal.
EasyJet said it was aware of an upcoming pilot strike at its bases in Barcelona, Malaga and Palma in Mallorca, Reuters reports. “We are disappointed with this action at this critical time for the industry,” the company said in a statement, adding that negotiations with SEPLA are ongoing.
And there is still no sign of a breakthrough in the continued Arriva bus strike that is having huge impacts across Merseyside.
There have been no Arriva buses running anywhere in the region for some 11 days because of the walk-out, which is being organised by the UNITE and GMB unions. On Thursday, both sides hit out at the other, with Arriva bosses accusing the unions of refusing to call off the strike while arbitration experts are brought in. UNITE leaders said the company was ‘playing games.’
The continuous strikes are being held over pay and conditions. Arriva said it believes it has offered a generous pay rise of 8.5%, but the unions said there are conditions to that rise they can’t accept and said the issues with the company have ‘fermented’ over a long period.
This week, Arriva North West boss Howard Farrall said: “We are very disappointed for all our customers affected by the continuing strike action, with still no date yet for services being resumed.
“We remain committed to getting our drivers back to work and buses back on the road as soon as possible. So, it is incredibly frustrating that our trade union partners, Unite and GMB, have today refused both to consider calling off the strike while we bring in ACAS – or to even meet with them.”
ACAS is a specialist independent body that supports employees and employers with resolving industrial relations disputes.