Wednesday 18 September 2019

Talks between Ryanair and Spanish pilots' union collapse

Michael O'Leary
Michael O'Leary
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Talks between Spanish pilot union Sepla and Ryanair have broken down after they two sides failed to agree a recognition agreement.

"We regret to inform you that, at today's meeting, the negotiations with Ryanair's management have been broken off as they have not accepted our minimum requirements document, 90pc of which corresponded to their proposals," the union told pilots in a letter yesterday.

Sepla said the airline would not agree to giving employees who are members of Sepla's Ryanair Company Council three days off every month to deal with union matters.

The union said it will now proceed with filing a lawsuit next week in Spain, claiming that Ryanair's contracts do not comply with Spanish law.

"Have no doubt that these days are absolutely necessary so that the company council can first work on the platform of our CLA (collective labour agreement), then negotiate it and finally monitor the compliance with this agreement," the union told pilots.

Sepla had claimed last week that Ryanair did "not intend to reach an agreement" with the union in relation to recognition.

There are about 800 Ryanair pilots in Spain, which is one of Ryanair's biggest markets, and about 65pc are Sepla members.

Sepla's Ryanair Company Council told pilots yesterday that the airline had informed it that it would wait for union recognition agreements to be signed in France before signing one in Spain.

The Spanish union said it will move to file a lawsuit against Ryanair on Monday and take "necessary actions for the future". Ryanair, headed by CEO Michael O'Leary, declined to comment.

However, yesterday Ryanair chief operations officer Peter Bellew said in a letter to pilots that the airline is "sincere in recognising Sepla".

"Ryanair has moved a long way in recognising Sepla," wrote Mr Bellew.

"We need the pilots' council now with Sepla to take a leap of faith and agree a reasonable number of paid days to complete their union duties. We are 90pc of the way there." While Sepla claims that Ryanair pilot contracts do not comply with Spanish law, the airline has previously insisted that it adheres to all European Union and Spanish labour laws.

"The Valencia Court of Appeal upheld the 2017 ruling of the Valencia Labour Court, that the Spanish courts had no jurisdiction over Ryanair pilots and cabin crew employment.

"Ryanair fully complies with all EU and Spanish employment law," said a spokeswoman earlier this year.

Irish Independent

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