Monday 17 December 2018

Ryanair launches stinging attack on pilots' union, claiming it has 'no mandate to disrupt flights'

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary

Anne Marie Walsh

RYANAIR has claimed that the union behind next Thursday’s 24-hour strike has no mandate to disrupt the flights and summer holidays of thousands of customers.

In a stinging attack on the pilots’ union, it said less than a third of the airline’s pilots are backing next Thursday’s 24-hour strike.

The company urged Fórsa to cancel the “unnecessary” stoppage and meet for talks early next week.

Ryanair’s statement said a ballot by the IALPA division of Fórsa was supported by just 27pc of more than 350 Irish Ryanair pilots.

“Ryanair’s Irish passengers should not be disrupted next Thursday when this strike has the support of just 94 of Ryanair’s over 350 Irish pilots,” it said in a statement.

“This is a quorum of just 27pc, and significantly less than one third of Ryanair’s Irish pilots.”

It called on the union to cancel the “unnecessary” strike and take up Ryanair’s invitation to meet on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next week at its offices.

It said that the issues of seniority and base transfers, which pilots want changed, have already been addressed in proposals it put forward.

The airline claimed some “Aer Lingus pilots” contacted Dublin Airport Authority in June, ten days before the strike ballot ended in relation to stoppages in July and August.

“Forsa should explain why Aer Lingus pilots are organising a strike to disrupt thousands of Ryanair customers even before a ballot of 27pc of Ryanair’s pilots has been completed,” it said.

It said Ryanair’s Irish pilots will be concerned that the people organising the strike are Aer Lingus pilots as it will be the “direct beneficiary” of any disruption.

IALPA has claimed that the airline is not prepared to meet its demands on the seniority issue. It also wants it to meet at a “neutral” venue.

In response, Fórsa said it has a mandate for the strike because it only balloted pilots who are directly employed by the airline, rather than contracted staff.

“IALPA balloted directly-employed pilots only,” said a spokesperson.

He said the ballot result has been a matter of public record since Tuesday.

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