A couple of days ago, we reported on the news that Ryanair had managed to strike its first-ever union recognition deal for cabin crew with two Italian unions. The agreement will allow the ANPAC and ANPAV unions to negotiate on behalf of around 20% of Ryanair’s total cabin crew workforce in Europe for a collective labour agreement.
At the time, the European Cabin Crew Association called it a “good day for cabin crew all over Europe”, while Ryanair said the deal demonstrated the progress it was making in recognising and negotiating with unions across the continent.
Ryanair only started to recognise unions in December 2017 and the deal with both ANPAC and ANPAV is said to have only come about after intense negotiations. But not everyone is quite so happy with, what would on the face of it, appear to be great news for Ryanair’s cabin crew.
It turns out that there are several other rival unions who have been vying to represent cabin crew at the low-cost airline – but now employees won’t be given the choice over which union to pick. It’s a tactic that the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) has called “divisive” – claiming the airline is “skirting close to the law”.
“This move effectively excludes three other Italian unions which together have a greater claim to represent the cabin crew workforce,” the ITF said in a statement released Friday afternoon.
They say the three other unions – FILT CGIL, FIT CISL and UIL Trasporti – believe Ryanair’s deal with ANPAC and ANPAV is incompatible with Italian law and as such poses “a threat to the proper representation of cabin crew.”
If these claims turn out to be true, then the new Italian government may well have something to say about it. Last December, when Ryanair was trying to convince pilots not to strike, the then Minister for Economic Development, Carlo Calenda called Ryanair’s tactics “shameful”.
In the last few weeks, several cabin crew unions have threatened strike action against Ryanair if the airline doesn’t meet their demands to treat workers according to the standards of the country in which they are based. As it stands, all cabin crew at the airline are employed under Irish employment contracts.