Business

Saturday 23 June 2018

Council representing Ryanair pilots calls on Michael O'Leary to resign

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A council set up to represent Ryanair pilots across Europe has this evening called on the airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, to resign.

The European Employee Representative Council – formed in the wake of a pilot rostering debacle last autumn that saw Ryanair cancel thousands of flights – made the demand in an open letter to the outspoken airline boss.

Ryanair, which announced before Christmas that it would recognise unions across Europe, has repeatedly dismissed the European Employee Representative Council (EERC), and refused to recognise it or engage with it.

Earlier this month Ryanair said that the EERC has “no legal validity or standing” and that the airline will “continue to ignore the so-called ‘EERC’ which represents nobody and speaks for no Ryanair pilots”.

Instead, the carrier has launched efforts to negotiate with Ryanair company councils established under the auspices of established unions, on a country-by-country basis, rather than on a single, pan-European level.

“We suggest you leave now, and we call on the board and investors to engage a new CEO to return this airline to its rightful place,” the letter from the EERC to Mr O’Leary said.

Earlier this month, Ryanair released better than expected third-quarter results, with a 12pc rise in pre-tax profits to €106m. Its revenue climbed 4pc to €1.4bn.

The letter added: “What glimmer of hope might have existed in December 2017 has been destroyed as you have clearly hamstrung your managers who spout the same tired antagonist rhetoric we have heard from you for too many years.”

Mr O’Leary, who has been chief executive of Ryanair since 1994, having initially joined the airline’s board in the late ‘80s. The board is led by billionaire US chairman David Bonderman.

The EERC said in its letter to Mr O’Leary this evening: “The EERC, exclusively comprised of Ryanair pilots, simply speaks with the authentic voice of the whole pilot body. We have the mutual interests of the pilots and the company at heart. We fully support the right and entitlement of our pilot associations to represent those interests, in genuine and meaningful negotiations.”

Earlier this month, Ryanair went on a hiring spree for hard-nosed negotiators to thrash out collective labour agreements with unions in 20 countries.

"We are looking to hire expert negotiators with a demonstrable track record in leading and concluding negotiations on either side of the negotiating process in an IR (industrial relations)/union environment," it said in an advertisement for the roles.

A Ryanair spokeswoman said in a statement: "The EERC, and their letters, have no legal standing or validity. Ryanair pilots continue to accept pay increases of 20pc (so far accepted by over 80pc of Ryanair pilots) which shows that Ryanair pilots do not pay any attention to this ‘so called’ EERC either."

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