RYANAIR has promised a new year’s sacking spree after a row with workers who refused to accept new contracts.

Union bosses have slammed the budget airline, which they say ‘put pressure’ on staff to accept pay cuts of up to 25%.

It comes as the Dublin-based operator was set to axe its bases at Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Girona on January 8.

However a U-turn over its Girona operations, saw Michael O’Leary’s firm offer 160 workers new contracts, in a bid to maintain a foothold in the northeastern city.

The majority of Ryanair’s 160 staff at the Girona base accepted new contracts, but some cabin crew and most of the site’s 20 pilots hit out their penny-pinching employer.

Ryanair O Leary
TIGHT: Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has made the airline the most profitable in the world by cutting costs at every corner

In defiant annexes, workers said they recognise that the contracts ‘do not conform’ with Spanish law and could even prompt a visit from an employment inspector.

In response, Ryanair has classified the disgruntled workers as ‘Expediente de Regulacion de Empleo’ (ERE).

This is a procedure which allows companies facing bankruptcy to fire workers and receive public funding to underwrite severance and early retirement packages.

After negotiations ended on November 5, Ryanair issued a statement that said: “Enough employees had signed the new contract and that Girona would stay open under the new conditions from January 1.”

Lidia Arasanz, from union USOC was highly critical of Ryanair’s treatment of its staff.

She said: “They had a meeting in which they said that to keep the base open, the employees would have to sign a new contract with the company in which they would only be contracted to work nine months of the year instead of 12.”

Ryanair’s three bases in the Canary Islands are still set to close on January 8, leaving it with 10 bases across Spain, including Girona.

It comes after Ryanair announced at the end of July a plan to cut 900 jobs from its 13,000-strong workforce.

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