Business World

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Ryanair pilots in UK announce seven more days of strikes in September

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
On course: Ryanair appears to have emerged unscathed from pilot strike action

Shawn Pogatchnik

Ryanair members of the British Airline Pilots Association say they will mount a further seven days of strike action in the UK in protest against the airline's alleged refusal to give ground in negotiations - but the carrier rejected the pilots' claims and called their move "pointless".

Balpa said in a statement on Wednesday its members would continue to walk off the job on September 18-19, September 21, September 23, September 25, September 27 and September 29.

Ryanair accused Balpa of shunning opportunities to negotiate and vowed to keep all UK services operating normally, as the airline said has been the case during the current labour unrest.

Some Balpa-represented Ryanair pilots in the UK began strike action on August 22-23 and were set to complete a second three-day stoppage due ending Wednesday night.

Union chiefs said Ryanair has minimised the impact of their protests so far, in part, by deploying non-UK pilots to British routes. But Ryanair said Balpa had won support from barely 5pc of its UK pilots.

"These latest Balpa strikes are pointless, given that during five days of Balpa strikes all Ryanair flights to and from UK airports operated as scheduled - with zero cancellations - thanks to the efforts of over 95pc of our UK pilots who flew as rostered and did not support these failed Balpa strikes," Ryanair said in a statement to Independent.ie.

"We again call on Balpa to return to talks as these failed strikes have not achieved anything," the airline said.

In its statement, the union accused Ryanair of refusing to participate in conciliation talks at the UK's Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

"We are clear that we want to settle the dispute and bring about a change in Ryanair for the better," said Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton.

"Pilots in Ryanair are seeking the same kind of policies and agreements that exist in other airlines. We want to address issues like pensions; loss of  licence insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and harmonise pay across the UK in a fair, transparent and consistent structure.

"While this action has considerably disrupted Ryanair, forcing them to engage contractors and bring in foreign crews to run its operation, it has had limited impact on the public’s travel  plans," he said.

"Ryanair should stop dragging its feet and get back to the negotiating table."

A bid by Irish-based Ryanair pilots represented by the Irish Airline Pilots Association to join their UK colleagues in strike action was blocked last month by the Irish High Court.

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