Business Irish

Thursday 15 November 2018

Ryanair warns its pilots in Dublin it will meet any attempts at industrial action 'head on'

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair has warned its pilots in Dublin that it will meet any attempts at industrial action “head on” and could move some jets out of the capital.

The warning comes as the airline’s pilots across Europe intensify efforts to push for collective bargaining and unionisation at the carrier.

The president of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA), Evan Cullen, wrote to Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary on Monday.

Mr Cullen told the airline boss that he was “disappointed” at Ryanair’s “continued failure” to engage in negotiations with the newly-formed European Employee Representative Committee (EERC).

The EERC wants to be a single representative body for Ryanair pilots across Europe. Ryanair negotiates pay and conditions on an individual basis with each of its bases, however, and does not recognise unions.

“I am now calling on you to directly engage with IALPA and enter into negotiations with us on all aspects of pay, terms and conditions of employment for pilots directly employed by Ryanair in Ireland,” Mr Cullen told Mr O’Leary.

Mr Cullen added in the letter that he was putting Mr O’Leary “on notice” that if the airline does not engage with IALPA, that the union “reserve the right to ballot our members for industrial action up to and including strike action without any further notice to you”.

But Ryanair’s chief people officer, Eddie Wilson, has warned pilots not to support the action, and told them that the airline will not recognise the union.

“If Dublin pilots support this IALPA organised action then we intend to meet this head on,” Mr Wilson told pilots in a letter today.

“If any such action occurs, then we must assume that Dublin pilots – for the moment – no longer wish to deal directly with Ryanair and we will withdraw those benefits which are dependent on our direct dealing collective agreement,” he said.

Mr Wilson said that means that the Dublin base will “until further notice – be frozen with no promotions for FOs (first officers) or SOs (senior officers)”.

“We may in due course be forced to look at rebasing some Dublin aircraft  to lower cost airports elsewhere, where our pilots continue to deal directly with us,” he added.

Mr Wilson insisted that Ryanair won’t deal with IALPA “no matter how long such IALPA-led action will occur”.

IALPA is part of trade union impact. Ryanair company councils have recently been established under IALPA’s umbrella, and under the auspices of a number of other European aviation unions.

Italy’s Anpac trade union has said that Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in the country, who are members of the union, intend to strike for four hours on December 15.

The civil aviation union has notified the airline and the Italian government of the planned strike.

The notice of strike action from Anpac comes as Ryanair pilots around Europe step up action in an effort to force the carrier to engage in collective bargaining across its almost 90 bases.

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