Saturday 17 November 2018

British Ryanair pilots threaten strike

Ryanair, headed by Michael O’Leary, recognised trade unions for the first time in its 32-year history in December
Ryanair, headed by Michael O’Leary, recognised trade unions for the first time in its 32-year history in December

Conor Humphries and Gavin McLoughlin

The union representing Ryanair pilots in Britain, the airline's largest market, has threatened possible strike action unless the company implements a transparent system to manage promotions and transfers, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Ryanair recognised trade unions for the first time in its 32-year history in December, but has since then struggled to reach agreement on the terms of the recognition with some unions. It faces several threats of strike action, but has so far avoided a major stoppage.

In the letter to Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) union demanded a seniority system to "provide transparency and fairness to decisions made by management which have a very large impact on the lives of our members and their families".

In particular, the union said it wanted transparent systems for involuntary base transfers, command upgrades and the allocation of annual leave and promotion.

"If it is not possible to immediately negotiate the introduction of such a Seniority Agreement, it is our intention to escalate this matter as a matter of urgency, to seek sanction for industrial action up to and including strike action should that be necessary," the letter said, setting a deadline of yesterday for positive response.

Ryanair's Irish union, IALPA, two weeks ago threatened possible strike action unless the airline agreed to new working practices.

BALPA national officer Terry Brandon told the Irish Independent that the union has now agreed a meeting with the airline next month where the issue will be on the agenda.

A spokesman for Ryanair said the airline did not comment on negotiations with its staff.

(Additional reporting by Reuters)

Irish Independent

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