Business Irish

Friday 20 July 2018

Trade union urges Ryanair pilots to fight Michael O'Leary until they 'beat' him

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. Photo: Frank McGrath
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. Photo: Frank McGrath
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

The leader of Ireland's largest trade union has urged Ryanair pilots to fight Michael O'Leary until they "beat" him in the war over pay and conditions.

The airline has disrupted the plans of more than 700,000 passengers by failing to have enough standby pilots to ensure the smooth operation of its schedule.

Last week, the airline's chief operations officer, Michael Hickey, resigned.

And in an unprecedented move, Ryanair chief executive, Michael O'Leary, wrote to the airline's pilots with an impassioned plea to get them to remain at the airline.

He has promised a raft of changes including improved pay and conditions if his 4,200 pilots do not leave to join airlines such as Norwegian.

Read more: Up to 400,000 passengers impacted as Ryanair to fly fewer aircraft this winter

But in a move which has angered management, hundreds of pilots at the low cost carrier have continued to join unions across Europe, including the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) and the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (Ialpa). However, O'Leary has staunchly refused to deal with unions in the past or in the future.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, SIPTU president, Jack O'Connor, says pilots are being denied their "fundamental right" to bargain collectively.

"The only thing the O'Learys of this world understand is when it's put right up to them.

"That's the currency in which he has always traded himself, and I hope the pilots beat him," he said.

Sunday Independent

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