Italy travel: Ryanair and Vueling staff announce October strike date

Cabin crew from budget airlines Ryanair and Vueling will strike across Italy on 1 October.

Cancellations and disruptions are possible as pilots and flight attendants walk off the job to demand higher pay and better working conditions.

The industrial action – coordinated by the Italian Filt Cgil and Uiltrasporti unions – is also a protest against the recent redundancies of 17 Vueling flight attendants based in Rome.

Ryanair staff will hold a 24-hour walkout, while Vueling staff will strike for a total of four hours, from 1pm to 5pm.

Why are Italian airline staff striking?

Vueling and Ryanair staff are striking to demand better working conditions. The action follows similar walkouts in June and July this year.

“Italian workers (deserve) contracts that guarantee decent working conditions and salaries at least in line with the minimum wages provided for in the national air transport contract of our country “, a union statement reads.

The union condemned Vueling for firing 17 “committed and professional” flight attendants at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Union representatives also demanded better working conditions for parents, such as exempting “mothers with small children” from night shift work.

Ryanair slammed  the unions as “irrelevant” and assured customers that there would be no impact on flights.

“Ryanair expects zero impact to our 3,000 daily flights as a result of planned strike action on Sat, 1st Oct by three tiny and irrelevant unions who don’t represent Ryanair staff, are not recognised by Ryanair and have previously held unsupported strikes that have had zero impact on Ryanair’s operations,” an airline spokesperson said. 

“Ryanair has already reached Collective Labour Agreements with 3 major, representative unions in Italy (FIT CISL, ANPAC and ANPAV), which cover all of our Italian crew and deliver accelerated pay restoration, future pay increases, and other benefit improvements for our people.”

Vueling has been contacted for comment.

The action is the latest in a series of strikes that have grounded planes across Europe this summer.

Last week, Italian airline ITA was forced to cancel flights after unionised ground staff held a 24 hour walkout.

On Friday, a French air traffic control strike grounded more than 1,000 flights, causing severe disruption for hundreds of thousands of travellers.

The wave of protests are partly a response to skyrocketing inflation that is eroding wages across the continent.

Will my flight be cancelled and am I entitled to compensation?

No Ryanair cancellations are expected, a spokesperson said. Vueling hasnot yet indicated whether any flights will be cancelled as a result of the strike.

Under Italian civil aviation law flights are guaranteed from 7am to 10am and from 6pm-9pm – even during strike action.

However, airlines may have to ground some trips.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, don’t panic. You are entitled to compensation under EU regulation EC 261, which protects all flights within the EU.

This means your airline is required to compensate you if your trip is significantly disrupted, usually a delay of 3 hours or more.

For more details on your rights, check out our explainer here.

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