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TRAVEL NEWS

Italian low-cost airline staff to strike on October 1st

Pilots and flight attendants from Ryanair and Vueling will strike on Saturday, October 1st over wages and working conditions, unions said.

Ryanair check-in counters at Barcelona's El Prat airport.
Pilots and cabin crew from low-cost carrier Ryanair will take part in a 24-hour strike on Saturday, October 1st. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

Pilots and cabin crew from Ryanair and Vueling will take part in a national strike action on Saturday, October 1st, Italian unions confirmed in a statement released on Monday. 

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

At the time of writing it wasn’t yet clear how the strike would affect passengers, though significant delays or cancellations can’t be ruled out. 

Italian trade unions Filt-Cgil and Uiltrasporti called the strike in protest against the employers’ failure to “grant acceptable working conditions and wages that are in line with minimum national salaries”. 

Unions also slammed Spanish airline Vueling’s decision to lay off 17 flight attendants based in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport “after months of hard work and professionalism”. 

A Vueling Airbus A320 plane.

Staff from Spanish airline Vueling will strike over working conditions and the recent lay-off of 17 flight attendants. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

The upcoming strike will be the latest in a long series of demonstrations that rocked Europe’s airline industry over the summer, causing significant disruption to thousands of air passengers. 

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

The last significant strike was held on Monday of last week, when a 24-hour national strike from unionised ground staff caused Italy’s flag carrier, ITA Airways, to cancel several domestic flights. 

On that occasion, ITA said affected passengers were rebooked on the first available flights.

As with all previous strikes, passengers travelling with Ryanair or Vueling on Saturday, October 1st are advised to contact their airline for updates prior to setting off.

In the event of delays and/or cancellations, the rights of all passengers are protected by EU regulation EC 261. This applies to any air passenger flying within the EU/Schengen zone, arriving in the EU/Schengen zone from a non-EU country by means of a EU-based airline (all airlines involved in the strike are EU-based) or departing from the EU/Schengen zone. 

READ ALSO: Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

According to this regulation, airlines are financially accountable for any journey disruption they are responsible for. That includes disruptions caused by airline staff strikes. Therefore, should your flight be significantly delayed or cancelled, you might be entitled to receive compensation from your airline. 

For further information on what you might be entitled to and in which cases, check our guide here.

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TRANSPORT

How will Italy’s Friday public transport strike affect travel?

Italian public transport workers’ unions have called an eight-hour strike for Friday, September 16th. Here’s a look at when and where disruption is likely.

How will Italy’s Friday public transport strike affect travel?

Disruption to many local transport services is expected on Friday after Italian trade unions confirmed transport staff will strike over safety fears following a series of physical assaults on public transport staff in recent weeks.

The timing and severity of disruption to public transport services is expected to vary by city and transport company.

Here’s a look at what’s expected so far:

The strike is set to affect the entire Italian public transport sector, according to news reports on Thursday, as staff at local public transport companies as well as those working for some national operators will stop work for at least part of the day on Friday.

Under Italian law, some services must always be guaranteed to run at peak hours on weekdays, meaning the disruption caused by strike action is usually limited.

The protected timeslots are usually from the start of the service until 8.45am and then from 4pm to 6 or 7pm, though the exact timeframes again vary by city.

Buses, trams and metro in Milan will be affected by the strike between 8.45am and 3pm, said the city’s public transport provider ATM.

All public transport services in Rome, including buses and metro trains, will stop between 8.30am and 4.30pm, according to local news reports.

In Venice, staff from the ACTV public transport company plan to participate in the strike between 4pm and midnight, with a “minimum number” of services guaranteed to run between 4.30 and 7.30pm.

In Naples, public transport staff plan to strike between 9am and 5pm, affecting all services including buses and metro, according to reports.

Staff at northern regional rail operator Trenord are also expected to strike for around six hours, between 9am and 3pm.

Reports said the strike will not affect national rail operator Trenitalia, which runs many of Italy’s local and intercity services as well as high-speed ‘Frecce’ trains.

Passengers are always advised to check the status of their journey with their public transport operator before setting off. 

In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation or a refund should a scheduled trip be significantly delayed or cancelled due to the strikes.

Why are public transport staff striking?

As with last Friday’s rail strike, unions are again demanding improved security for drivers and inspectors at work following a series of violent incidents.

There have been at least 17 reports of attacks on public transport staff in Italy over the past three months, most recently including an incident in which a passenger headbutted a member of staff at a metro station in Milan after climbing over the turnstiles.

At the end of last month, in the province of Pavia (Lombardy), a bus driver was hospitalised after being assaulted by a passenger who had been caught smoking on board.  

More recently, another bus driver, this time near Arezzo (Tuscany), was spat at after asking a passenger to put a muzzle on their dog.

“It is becoming normal to read news about a driver or a station attendant being beaten, amid the indifference of companies and institutions,” read the strike announcement from unions on Tuesday.

Unions slammed an “intolerable” failure of companies to protect staff from assault, saying further strikes could be expected if their demands for improved security were not met.

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