Ryanair hit with first ever pilots strike

Above, an empty Ryanair check-in section of the departures area is seen at Dublin airport in Dublin. The Irish budget carrier had been seeking to avert a series of threatened strikes across Europe over Christmas last week by giving up its long-held opposition to recognizing unions. (Reuters)
Updated 22 December 2017
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Ryanair hit with first ever pilots strike

BERLIN: Ryanair’s efforts to avert its first ever pilots strike collapsed on Friday as pilots in Germany held a four-hour walkout although airports said there had been little impact on flights.
The Irish budget carrier had sought to avert a series of threatened strikes across Europe over Christmas last week by giving up its long-held opposition to recognizing unions.
However, Germany’s Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union said it would stage a brief walkout as it did not believe Ryanair was serious about recognizing unions or sincere in talks.
“This was a warning shot and we started small. However, there is potential for much more,” union spokesman Markus Wahl said, ruling out further strikes until after Dec 26.
The strike ran from 0401 GMT to 0759 GMT when only 16 flights were scheduled.
“All in all there are no significant effects,” a spokesman for Berlin airports said, noting that five of seven flights had departed, with one delayed.
Cologne/Bonn airport said two of three scheduled flights had taken off and the third was delayed. Frankfurt airport said four of six scheduled flights had taken off.
Ryanair was not available for immediate comment. Management had urged pilots to work to get passengers home for Christmas.
But the VC union said after a first meeting that it did not believe Ryanair genuinely wanted to recognize unions and said it wanted to send a message that their pilots were serious about industrial action.
VC said Ryanair had refused to accept two members of a delegation that the union nominated to hold talks with management. One of the pilots was a contractor and one a direct employee, but Ryanair has ended both of their contracts, VC said.
“This has shown us that nothing has changed with Ryanair’s management style or how it handles workers’ rights,” VC President Ilja Schulz told reporters on Thursday.
Ryanair pilots mobilized in September after the carrier announced the cancelation of around 20,000 flights, which it blamed on a rostering problem sparked by a change in Irish regulations.


Saudi Aramco to invest in refinery-petrochemical project in east China

Updated 18 October 2018
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Saudi Aramco to invest in refinery-petrochemical project in east China

  • This is the third such project in China that Saudi Aramco has set its sight on
  • Last month, Saudi Aramco signed a long-term deal with the Zhejiang project’s operator Zhejiang Rongsheng to supply crude oil

ZHOUSHAN, China/SINGAPORE: State oil giant Saudi Aramco signed an agreement on Thursday to invest in a refinery-petrochemical project in eastern China, part of its strategy to expand in downstream operations globally.
The memorandum of understanding between the company and Zhejiang province included plans to invest in a new refinery and co-operate in crude oil supply, storage and trading, according to details released by the Zhoushan government after a signing ceremony in the city south of Shanghai.
Zhejiang Petrochemical, 51 percent owned by textile giant Zhejiang Rongsheng Holding Group, is building a 400,000-barrels-per-day refinery and associated petrochemical facilities that was expected to start operations by the end of this year.
This is the third such project in China that Saudi Aramco has set its sight on as it seeks to lock in long-term outlets for its crude oil and produce fuel and petrochemicals to meet rising demand in Asia and cushion the risk of a slowdown in oil consumption.
Last month, Saudi Aramco signed a long-term deal with the Zhejiang project’s operator Zhejiang Rongsheng to supply crude oil.
The oil giant had not yet finalized the size of its stake in the project and still needed to complete due diligence, Aramco’s Senior Vice President of Downstream, Abdulaziz Al-Judaimi, said on the sidelines of the event.
Saudi Aramco expects to supply 170,000 barrels per day of Saudi crude to the refinery in Zhoushan when it starts operations, he said.
The first crude carrier supplying the refinery should arrive in December or January, depending on when the project starts, he added.
Aramco also owns part of the Fujian refinery-petrochemical plant with Sinopec and Exxon Mobil Corp, and has plans to build a 300,000-bpd refinery with China’s Norinco. It is also in talks with PetroChina to invest in a refinery in Yunnan.