Business Irish

Monday 19 February 2018

Ryanair pilots urged to unionise immediately as standoff with management intensifies

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. Photo:
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. Photo:
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

About 350 Ryanair pilots in Dublin have been urged by colleagues to join the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA) by lunchtime tomorrow as a standoff with management intensifies across the carrier.

"Pilots, we have them on their knees," the memo seen by states.

It adds: "You can be sure that this opportunity will never arise again."

Pilots at about 55 of Ryanair's 86 bases have already rejected a proposal from the airline that captains would be paid €12,000 for working 10 of their days off over the next year, as the carrier struggles to manage a flights fiasco that has impacted hundreds of thousands of people. First officers have been offered €6,000.

Ryanair is also offering an additional, unconditional €10,000 payment to pilots at some bases.

Ryanair is non-unionised and even if staff are members of a union, the airline does not have to recognise the union.

But the blunt message sent to pilots this evening is certain to ensure that a trajectory is plotted towards a showdown with senior executives, as pilots demand improved pay and conditions at Europe's biggest airline.

"Being a [union] member is the only way to legitimise any action that might be required

either now or in the future," the memo seen by this evening reads.

Read more: Ryanair faces into the problems of its own phenomenal success

It adds that if pilots join the union, "We can now ballot our members for some type of industrial action up to and including a strike."

The memo adds: "Once the ballot is complete and there is a majority, we have to send seven days' notice to the company of industrial action."

The memo informs pilots that despite Ryanair not recognising unions, once staff are union members, they are entitled to engage in industrial action.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said last week that "hell would freeze over" before he would welcome unions into the airline.

"Our futures are at stake here," this evening's pilot memo states. "Be under no illusion, we have the upper hand but Ryanair will come out fighting."

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