Ryanair has launched a petition calling for the right to strike to be removed from European air traffic controllers (ATC).
The no-frills carrier said it wants “tiny” unions to stop “repeated blackmail” and causing disruption for thousands of passengers.
It comes as French ATCs prepare for two days of strikes – although these are expected to be called off after a fresh round of talks.
The online petition, Keep Europe’s Skies Open, is also calling for allowing other European ATCs to manage flights over French airspace during strikes. Ryanair said this would minimise cancellations and disruptions for Europe’s consumers in Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK.
Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “It's unacceptable that Europe’s consumers repeatedly have their holiday and travel plans disrupted or cancelled by the selfish actions of ATC unions every summer, who use strikes as a first weapon rather than a last resort.”
A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services union, which represents other air traffic control workers, told The Guardian: “Instead of trying to restrict the fundamental right to strike, which would level the UK down to some of the most repressive regimes in the world, companies like Ryanair would be better advised to lobby governments and employers to ensure workers get a fair deal to prevent disputes escalating.”
Ryanair will present the petition to the EU Commission once it reaches one million signatures.