Sunday 22 September 2019

Dublin-based Ryanair captain validates EERC representative body in letter to CEO Michael O'Leary

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary Photo: PA
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary Photo: PA
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A long serving Ryanair captain has written a letter to CEO Michael O'Leary backing Captain Imelda Comer's assertion that newly-formed EERC is a group "exclusively comprised of Ryanair pilots".

Captain Terry O'Connor, who states that he has worked with the airline since 2005, has put himself forward as a "conduit" between Ryanair management and the interim European Employee Representative Committee (EERC).

The EERC was founded following Ryanair's recent flights fiasco in an effort to force the carrier to deal with a collective pilot group that would negotiate on behalf of the majority of pilots.

Imelda Comer, who had served as a pilot with Ryanair for a decade, previously told Mr O'Leary in a letter to the airline boss that Ryanair's management has "not listened to the pilots' voice so far".

At the time, Ryanair dismissed her letter as "entirely disingenuous", stating that she was a contractor pilot for the firm who had already resigned.

Now, Terry O'Connor, who states that he is a permanent Ryanair employee who has resigned, said he wants to confirm "the exact same information as Captain Comer".

"It is particularly worrying that correspondence through two separate channels, hand delivery and normal emails, from recognised and established base ERC’s do not seem to have been delivered to you," he wrote in a letter which was delivered to Michael O’Leary and Ryanair management on Monday, November 6.

"In the near future, the interim EERC will send you details of the Conditions and Pay Proposal that Ryanair pilots from across the bases network have contributed to developing," he wrote.

The release of the letter coincides with pilots across Europe signing a letter 'A collective message to our CEO' , a request for collective bargaining rights over the pay and conditions of employees.

"Ryanair has repeatedly confirmed in recent weeks that it will not engage with this "so-called EERC", the RPG, REPA, or any other group fronting for the pilot unions of competitor airlines," read a statement from the airline.

"The current Base ERC system was not “imposed by management” but rather was agreed and utilised by both Ryanair and all its pilot bases for the past 25 years with the full participation of Ryanair’s pilots voting regularly in secret ballots to approve pay and conditions improvements.

"As the Irish Supreme Court has ruled, the Base ERC system meets all the requirements of a sophisticated collective bargaining process and has done so for over 25 years.

"While these pilot unions continue to send meaningless letters to the media, Ryanair is continuing to agree new pay deals with over 15 ERC bases and this process of bringing Ryanair pilots’ pay up to over €150,000 pa which is more than 20pc higher than Jet 2 or Norwegian 737 pilots."

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