Ryanair latest: Airline's pilots respond to plea to join union
A request for about 350 Ryanair pilots in Dublin to join the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA) has reportedly received a "significant response".
The move is certain to ratchet up pressure on management to hammer out new deals with cockpit crews.
The Irish Independent revealed that as part of a grassroots campaign, Ryanair pilots were urged by colleagues to join IALPA by yesterday afternoon.
It comes after a memo was circulated to Ryanair pilots based in Dublin which stated "Pilots, we have them on their knees". Sources said there had been a positive response from pilots to this memo.
Evan Cullen, the president of IALPA, said that to be an IALPA member, pilots must hold certain minimum qualifications.
He said those qualifications were verified before the application process could continue.
He insisted that any applications received by the union over the weekend wouldn't be known to him until Friday or possibly next Monday.
The union was not involved in drafting or circulating the memo to the pilots.
Although Ryanair is non-unionised and it does not recognise unions, the memo stated that if pilots join a union they can then legitimately ballot members for "some type of industrial action up to and including a strike".
Last week, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary reiterated his opposition to unionisation at the airline.
Ryanair did not respond to a request for comment on the memo.
Nor did the airline respond to a request for comment on a statement from the European Cockpits Association (ECA) yesterday, which said it supports the demands of Ryanair pilots.
There are about 4,200 pilots at Ryanair.
The ECA, which represents more than 38,000 pilots across Europe, also called on Ryanair's institutional investors to "initiate structural change and work for an urgently needed social dialogue".
Ryanair has been working to minimise flight disruption to passengers amid a roster fiasco that has left it short of pilots, particularly over the next couple of months.
It has asked pilots to work 10 of their days-off over the next year in return for a payment of €12,000 to captains and €6,000 to first officers.
Pilot captains at some bases have also been offered an additional €10,000.