US union calls for Ryanair pilot unity
Ryanair pilots have been urged to demonstrate "strong resolve and unity" by the president of a powerful US pilots' union, as they battle for improved terms and conditions.
In a letter to Ryanair pilots in advance of meeting some of them in Dublin yesterday, Jon Weaks of the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA) said that the "days of ruling by fear and divide and conquer need to stop now".
US airline unions have been offering moral, financial and operational support to Ryanair pilots in their bid to unionise and negotiate new pay as well as terms and conditions with management.
Mr Weaks and Daniel Carey, the president of the Allied Pilots' Association which represents 15,000 pilots at American Airlines, were set to meet Ryanair pilots in Dublin yesterday evening.
"As you struggle for the recognition of your professional status and contribution to your company's success, know that the pilots of SWAPA support you one hundred per cent," said Mr Weaks in the letter to Ryanair pilots.
He added: "It is time for Ryanair to value you as employees and the excellent work you perform in service of your airline."
The US-based Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations has also written to Ryanair pilots. It represents unions with about 30,000 members.
"We would like to express our strong support for your efforts and stand united with the pilots at Ryanair who seek job security and lawful economic self-help for fair pay and work rule standards," the group's president, Lee Collins, said.
He added: "Indirect employment, practised by any airline, must be put to an end."
Ryanair declined to comment on the contents of Mr Weaks's letter.
Meanwhile, a planned four-hour strike, organised by Italian union Fit-Cisl for Ryanair workers in Italy who are members of the union, has been postponed until November 10, union sources confirmed. The industrial action had been originally pencilled in for today.
Previous efforts by Fit-Cisl to initiate strike action at Ryanair - including an attempt earlier this year - have failed, however. A union source said that about 130 Ryanair workers are members of the union, but said it was not known how many of them, if any, would heed the call to strike next month.
UK aviation union Balpa also said yesterday that, at the request of Ryanair pilots, it has launched a survey amongst the cockpit crew. Among the questions in the survey is whether Ryanair pilots would be prepared to support industrial action to achieve their objectives.
Ryanair releases first-half results next Tuesday.