Ryanair has accepted the terms of a four-year labour agreement with pilots in Ireland that are represented by trade union Fórsa.
Ryanair was hit with industrial action and threats of unrest across swathes of its network over the past two years after it decided to recognise trade unions in late 2017.
However, it has now reached agreements with unionised staff groups across a number of its territories.
The agreement in Ireland came after tortuous negotiations that involved top mediator Kieran Mulvey.
And while Ryanair has accepted the terms of the recommendations for the agreement, Forsa is still considering them. The union represents about 180 of Ryanair’s Dublin-based pilots who are directly employed by the carrier.
“Ryanair today confirmed that it had accepted before Christmas the recommendations of independent mediator Mr Kieran Mulvey on a four-year Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) with the pilot union Fórsa, to cover all Ryanair's directly employed pilots in Ireland to 2024,” the airline said in a statement.
It added that the terms of the CLA will now be implemented, and include a new pay structure along with its five days on/four days off fixed roster.
“Ryanair would like to thank Kieran Mulvey for his contribution and expertise in overseeing this mediation process which has now concluded,” the statement said.
Mr Mulvey helped to thrash out agreements that will see a new incremental pay scale for the pilots, as well as a change in how their pay is calculated based on fixed and variable compensation.
Last August, Ryanair secured an injunction against Fórsa, which is the parent union of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA), preventing the Ryanair pilots it represents from staging a 48-hour strike.
Ryanair then sued Fórsa and a number of named pilots, including IALPA president Evan Cullen, claiming that it lost €13.7m as a result of the planned strike.
The airline and the union subsequently returned to mediation under Mr Mulvey.
However, the action by Ryanair against the union and pilots is listed to be up again in the Commercial Court this Friday.
This week, Ryanair warned staff that continuing delays in the recertification of Boeing’s troubled Max aircraft meant it may have to consider further base closures.
Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson told staff that the carrier had hoped to have at least 10 Max-200 aircraft delivered during May and June when it published its summer schedule before Christmas.
But Boeing now doesn’t expect to have the Max jet recertified until mid-summer.
Some industry executives think that even that timeline may be optimistic.
Mr Wilson told staff in a memo that even if the aircraft – which was involved in two deadly crashes and then grounded all over the world – is recertified for use by June or July, Ryanair won’t receive its first Max jet until September or October “at the earliest”.
He said that Ryanair will now “urgently review” its summer 2020 schedule to remove 10 aircraft.
“Sadly, this means we cannot rule out further base cuts and closures,” he said. “We will do our best to avoid any more base closures, but this will mean eliminating at least 10 aircraft from existing bases, and so further pilot and cabin crew job losses cannot be ruled out.”
Mr Wilson said that Ryanair is “doing our best” to minimise base closures in favour of base cuts and frequency reductions.
There are about 4,500 Max aircraft on order with Boeing, with Ryanair having ordered about 200 of the jets.
Boeing said today that it expects the cost of the Max groundings to cost it in the region of $18bn.