February 26, 2018 / 6:42 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Ryanair cabin crews in Portugal set 3 one-day strikes around Easter

(Adds Ryanair says has not received notification of strike)

LISBON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - A union representing Ryanair cabin crew in Portugal will hold three one-day strikes during the Easter holidays, on March 29, April 1 and April 4, an official with the SNPVAC union said on Monday.

The strikes are the latest sign of strained relations between Europe’s largest low-cost carrier and its staff after it narrowly avoided mass Christmas strikes in December by recognising trade unions for the first time.

Fernando Gandra of Portugal’s SNPVAC union told Reuters it had sent a notice of strike action to Ryanair and the Portuguese labour ministry. Ryanair said in an emailed statement that it had not received the strike notice.

The strikes were motivated by “worsening labour conditions, a lack of respect for the dignity of the cabin crew ... and threats over sales objectives”, Gandra said. Ryanair says it has some of the best working conditions in the low-cost sector.

Talks on formal union recognition and improved conditions are ongoing with pilot unions in seven countries, but only British union BALPA has so far signed a recognition agreement.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said last week Easter strikes were possible in Portugal and Ireland, though a pan-European group of Ryanair pilots described the warning of pilot strikes as “alarmist”.

Ryanair executives had initially said they would only engage with cabin crew unions after agreement had been reached with the pilots.

But on Monday Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson told journalists that he had issued invitations for talks to cabin crew unions in Portugal as well as its three largest markets: the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. (Reporting by Andrei Khalip in Lisbon and Conor Humphries in Dublin; Editing by Catherine Evans and David Evans)

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