Monday 16 September 2019

Ryanair pilots in Ireland join UK colleagues in balloting for possible strike action

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BA plane

Shawn Pogatchnik

The Irish Airline Pilots Association says it has begun to ballot Ryanair pilots about possible strike action, adding to the airline’s labour woes.

The Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA), a branch of the Fórsa trade union, said the balloting would continue until August 9. It specified no date when service disruption might begin.

The Irish move follows a similar decision earlier this month by Ryanair pilots in Britain to ballot in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Meanwhile, pilots at British Airways voted on Monday in favour of strike action in their own dispute over pay. British Airways on Tuesday lost a UK High Court legal bid to stop the strike but announced it plans to appeal.

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BA plane

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has signalled that its balloting of Ryanair pilots in Britain would not lead to any service disruption before the week of August 19.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, suffered a series of damaging strikes last year after the airline bowed to pressure in late 2017 to recognise unions for the first time. Ryanair since has negotiated collective-labour agreements with several pilot unions across Europe.

READ MORE: Ryanair bids to overturn ruling it must compensate passengers after strikes

But IALPA said in a statement their members felt “frustration and disappointment” over a lack of progress in ongoing pay talks with the company. BALPA last week identified outstanding issues as pensions, maternity benefits and a fair, transparent pay structure.

While earlier strikes took place against a background of pilot shortages, Ryanair says it has more than enough pilots now and is preparing to downsize services because of postponed delays of Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX aircraft.

READ MORE: Ryanair to close some bases due to shortfall in Boeing deliveries  

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