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Italian government slams Ryanair for warning staff not to strike

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Italian government slams Ryanair for warning staff not to strike
A Ryanair plane over Italy. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP
18:34 CET+01:00
Ryanair’s attempts to stop its staff in Italy going on strike are “shameful”, the Italian economy minister said on Wednesday.

The budget airline sent a letter to Italian cabin crew on Tuesday warning them that they would jeopardize their chances of pay rises, transfers or promotions if they join a planned strike on December 15th.

If a single member of the cabin crew takes part, all crew will lose the the schedule they’re currently guaranteed, said the note from Ryanair’s head of personnel.

The threats appear to violate the Italian constitution, according to the watchdog that monitors industrial action in Italy, which pointed out that the right to strike is protected by law.

Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti called Ryanair’s action “extremely serious”, while Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda warned the Irish airline: “You can’t go into the market, take the advantages and not respect the rules”.

An Italian union has called pilots and flight attendants to strike for four hours on the afternoon of December 15th, saying that Ryanair management – which does not recognize any unions – had ignored its requests to renegotiate contracts for its staff in Italy.

Ryanair pilots in Ireland and Portugal have also voted to strike in coming weeks.

Between September and October, Ryanair cancelled hundreds of flights to and from Italy in what it put down to a “pilot rostering error”, though reports said it was facing staff shortages.

Italy’s competition watchdog is seeking to fine the company as much as €5 million for failing to assist customers during the ensuing travel chaos.

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