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Passengers Mock Ryanair as Pilots Across Europe Go on Biggest Strike Ever

During the busy summer season, Ryanair has been facing the anger of its pilots, who have been walking out of their jobs and calling for better working conditions.

The Irish low-budget airline faced simultaneous strikes on Friday, being forced to delay or cancel one-sixth of 2,400 European flights after pilots in Germany, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands walked out of their jobs, the AFP reported. Nearly 55,000 passengers were offered customer refunds or the option to rebook their flight as they were affected by the strike.

READ MORE: Ryanair Says Jobs at Risk Amid Plan to Slash 1/5 of Fleet Over Strikes, Downturn

This is not the first massive delay in the airline's history – Ryanair is known for its cheap flights, yet unstable flight table. Stephane Levens, a Belgian passenger who had to cancel her business meetings because her flight from Italy was cancelled told Belgian broadcaster RTBF that she wasn’t surprised: “You know what to expect when you're a Ryanair customer, they're the cheapest.” Internet users mocked Ryanair for their prices as well, supposing that planes now also have to be bought separately:

Online users were displeased with the delays, believing that it was irresponsible to put so many people in distress:

Other passengers weren’t so positive about the strike, blaming the company for being unable to provide their pilots with decent payouts. “What I find unjustified is that the pilots draw the short straw because people want to fly cheaply,” one of the passengers, Daniel Flamman, told Reuters. Along with a group of passengers, Daniel was stuck in Frankfurt, yet remained sympathetic towards the pilots. Online users have also criticized the company as the hashtag #RyanairMUSTchange got over 500 retweets in one day.

Our support with Ryanair pilots and staff who are fighting social dumping.

Economic liberalism in Europe is detriments all employees, it is through their common struggle that we must change our model

One of the tweets featured a screenshot of a paycheck for 90 hours of work:

According to the German daily newspaper The Bild, this is an accurate sum and one of the key complaints of the protesters. Ryanair’s starting salary for pilots is around 40,000 euros per year – way below entry-level pay at EasyJet, another low-cost company. At the same time, Ryanair’s maximum salary of 110,000 euros is half of what German budget airline Lufthansa’s experienced pilots get. Staff also complained about the constant changes in shifts and the fact that the pilots from countries other than Ireland are employed under Irish legislation, cutting them off their homeland countries’ state benefits. "The problem with Ryanair is that it's all stick and no carrot," one of the Belgium pilots exclusively told AFP. “They are always putting us under pressure."

READ MORE: Air France to Cancel 30% of Flights on Saturday Over Strike, Chaos in Airports

Ryanair officials have called the strike action “unnecessary,” saying that they are open for dialogue with the protesters. The unprecedented simultaneous strike is the latest in the series of protests the airline has faced over the summer period, disrupting more than 600 flights and affecting 100,000 passengers. The company’s chief executive, Michael O'Leary, has warned that the company “may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas” if the protests continue.

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