Unions call 4-hour strike for Ryanair workers in Italy

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FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dublin

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian unions have called a four-hour strike for Ryanair workers in the country, lamenting a reduction in compensation and tough labour conditions at Europe's biggest budget airline.

Ryanair ranked first for the number of passengers travelling to and from Italy last year as Alitalia shrunk its network before handing over to smaller ITA Airways.

In a statement issued on Thursday, leftwing unions FILT-CGIL and UIL Trasporti said the planned strike would take place on June 8 starting from 0800 GMT.

Italian unions listed "an arbitrary cut in the pay check - for alleged shortfalls in sales - the non-payment of sick days, the company's refusal to grant compulsory leave days during the summer season, and the lack of water and meals for the crew," as the reasons at the basis of the strike.

Earlier this month, Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary said the effects of the pandemic on the air traffic were not over, and said it was too early to discuss pay rises.

"In some cases, the unions are saying, COVID-19 is over, give us all the money back. Well, it's not over yet, and we do need to see the restoration of our pre-COVID profitability," O'Leary said.

The budget carrier said last week it would return to "reasonable profitability" in its coming fiscal year to end-March 2023, but the uncertain outlook meant it was impossible to give detailed guidance beyond that.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; additional reporting Padraic Halpin; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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