RYANAIR has proposed that a top industrial relations troubleshooter step in to end a row with its pilots who are on strike for the fourth time today.
In a dramatic move, the airline has suggested that Kieran Mulvey – the retired head of the Workplace Relations Commission – is appointed to resolve the dispute.
Ryanair has traditionally shied away from third party industrial relations intervention and recently told Independent.ie that it was not open to the prospect.
In a statement, the airline called on Fórsa to agree to the appointment as it faces escalating industrial action at home and abroad.
Members of the Irish Airline Pilots Association division of Fórsa are today holding a fourth strike and have announced a fifth will take place next Friday.
They want a seniority system to give pilots with longest service first call on base transfers, holidays and promotions.
“Given the non-engagement by Fórsa, and in particular the manipulation of the discussions by certain Aer Lingus pilots to ensure that no meetings take place, that unsuccessful strikes keep repeating, Ryanair now feels the only way to introduce common sense is by way of third party mediation, and to this end is suggesting Mr Kieran Mulvey formerly of the Labour Commission and Workplace Relations Commission,” said Ryanair's Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson.
“His background and experience could be a positive influence. We now call on Fórsa to accept Mr Mulvey as a third party mediator, an initiative Fórsa has repeatedly called for in recent weeks.”
A Fórsa spokesperson said Ryanair’s announcement that it will accept independent third-party assistance in its dispute with pilots is an unexpected and positive development.
It noted that it was made without preconditions.
Senior Ryanair executive Kenny Jacobs had as late as this morning said Ryanair would only attend talks if the union called off its fifth strike.
However, it has climbed down on this demand.
“The union, which has been calling for third-party assistance for many weeks, will consult with its members in the company, and looks forward to talking to Kieran Mulvey about when a process could begin,” said the Fórsa spokesperson.