Monday 19 August 2019

Irish union to support Ryanair pilots in talks

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair pilots in Ireland and Sweden have put the airline on notice that they want to initiate talks to secure national collective labour agreements.

The Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA) and Sweden's airline pilot union, Svensk Pilotforening (SPF), have separately written to Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary to notify him that new Ryanair pilot councils have now been established under the auspices of each union. The Irish and Swedish unions bring to four the number of European pilot unions which have informed Mr O'Leary of new Ryanair pilot councils in their countries.

Airline pilot unions in Germany and Portugal have also recently seen such Ryanair councils established under their umbrellas.

IALPA president Evan Cullen told Mr O'Leary, in a letter dated last Friday, that the union "strongly urges" Ryanair to "immediately enter direct negotiations with the pilots' EERC as the legitimate voice of the pilot body, and develop a framework agreement for pilot representation in Ryanair".

The president of the Swedish airline pilots' union, Martin Lindgren, also asked Ryanair in his letter to Mr O'Leary yesterday to engage with the EERC.

The EERC (European Employee Representative Committee) was formed by Ryanair pilots in the wake of the recent rostering fiasco at the airline that saw it axe thousands of flights.

The EERC wants to be recognised by the airline as a pan-European, single representative body for Ryanair pilots, and to negotiate on their behalf.

Ryanair has previously dismissed the EERC as a "front" set up by "competitor pilot unions" and has refused to engage with it.

The airline manages pilot negotiations at its almost 90 bases via a system of employee representative committees (ERCs) at each of those bases.

The structure was established by the airline, which points out that the ERCs have been recognised by the Supreme Court as a legitimate means to engaging with pilots.

Seven staff Ryanair pilots in Ireland - named in the letter to Mr O'Leary - are members of the new Ryanair company council in Ireland.

"With appropriate support from IALPA, these pilots will in due course negotiate with Ryanair on the details of a collective labour agreement," Mr Cullen told Mr O'Leary in a letter seen by the Irish Independent.

"We look forward to supporting our members in Ireland through their IALPA company council to engage in constructive dialogue with Ryanair," added Mr Cullen.

Ryanair said it doesn't comment on "rumour and speculation".

Mr Lindgren said Ryanair pilots had the support of SPF and "more than 80pc of their colleagues in Sweden".

Irish Independent

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