Hundreds to be affected by Ryanair strikes at Stansted Airport

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Around 50,000 passengers across Europe are expected to be affected this weekend as Ryanair is forced to cancel nearly 400 flights due to a 24-hour walkout by staff in five European countries over a dispute about pay and working conditions.

The company says 85% of its scheduled flights will operate as normal on Saturday and the majority of customers affected have been given places on other Ryanair flights.

A statement from CEO Michael O'Leary said: "Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation, however as these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due".

If the Dutch airport strike on Friday goes ahead, Dutch Ryanair pilots will join those in Germany, Ireland, Belgium and Sweden in striking all day.

A Dutch court on Thursday evening rejected a case from Ryanair seeking to block pilots in the Netherlands from joining the strike, affecting about 22 flights.

In June Ryanair signed an agreement with the Unite union, giving hundreds of cabin crew employees full consultation rights and collective bargaining. Ryanair had filed for an urgent court order to prevent industrial action by pilots in the Netherlands.

This includes 78 flights to or from Spain, a move that will affect 14,000 passengers.

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Ingolf Schumacher, pay negotiator at Germany's Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, said pilots had to be prepared for "a very long battle" and that it could take months to push through change at Europe's largest low-priced carrier.

Staff are holding a 24-hour walkout over pay and conditions.

He said they earn up to €190,000 (£170,000), which was more than their peers at budget rival Eurowings made.

Will Ryanair be offering compensation for travellers?

He said: "Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options", the carrier said.

Ryanair has repeatedly said it remained open to further talks with pilot representatives. The majority of customers affected have already been re-accommodated on another Ryanair flight.

"We want again to apologise to customers affected by this necessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes".

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