Monday 16 September 2019

Ryanair seeks court order to block strike by its pilots

Evan Cullen: The president of IALPA, whose members plan to strike. Photo: Tom Burke
Evan Cullen: The president of IALPA, whose members plan to strike. Photo: Tom Burke

Aodhan O'Faolain

Ryanair has asked the High Court for an order preventing its Irish-based pilots from going on strike next week.

Ryanair is seeking an injunction preventing the trade union Fórsa, which is the parent union of IALPA, from striking for 48 hours at midnight on August 22.

The action is also against a number of pilots who are members of IALPA, including that union's president Evan Cullen.

IALPA represents approximately 180 Dublin-based pilots who are directly employed by the airline.

The airline, represented in its action by Martin Hayden SC and Eoin O'Shea BL, is also seeking a declaration from the court that Fórsa's ballot and notice of strike action served on Ryanair was unlawful.

The airline claims that the proposed strike would be in breach of an agreement following a mediation conducted by retired Workplace Relations Commission chair Kieran Mulvey in 2018. Mr Hayden said the agreement contains clear procedural requirements which must be followed in the event that either side contemplates industrial action.

Counsel said it is Ryanair's case that the union should have seen the process through, before balloting its members and serving the strike notice.

In a recent meeting the parties had with Mr Mulvey, counsel said the union had walked away from mediation.

Counsel said Ryanair still "does not know" exactly what the pilots want.

The airline says it is not possible to quantify the disruption the strike proposed will cause.

The industrial action in 2018 resulted in the cancellation of more than 100 flights and disrupted the travel plans of some 18,000 Irish passengers.

Mr Hayden told the court that the choice of the dates by the union was deliberate. As well as it being the end of the school holidays, the industrial action also coincides with similar actions being taken by Ryanair pilots based in the UK.

Permission to serve short notice of the injunction application was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Ms Justice Carmel Stewart.

Irish Independent

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