Wednesday 29 January 2020

Ryanair pilots agree to talks ahead of 24-hour strike

A Ryanair jet lands at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)
A Ryanair jet lands at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)

Anne-Marie Walsh

RYANAIR pilots have agreed to talks on the eve of a 24-hour strike this Thursday.

In a statement, the Irish Airline Pilots Association said it has accepted the airline’s invitation to meet its representatives on Wednesday.

However, it said it still expects that Thursday’s industrial action in pursuit of better terms and conditions will go ahead.

Pilots have threatened to walk out on Thursday as they seek better terms and conditions including a more “transparent” selection process for promotion, holidays and transfers between bases.

“The union has made a commitment that the location of the meeting would remain confidential,” said Fórsa in a statement.

It said the location of the meeting would be known only to the company and the union’s delegation of directly-employed Ryanair pilot representatives and trade union officials.

The union said that the effect of industrial action on Thursday’s flight schedules remains unknown.

It said it was determined to work toward resolving the outstanding issue of a seniority agreement for pilots at the airline.

Ryanair said it had offered to meet its pilots and Fórsa at a neutral venue on Tuesday or Wednesday to avoid the “unnecessary” pilot strike.

In a letter to Fórsa National Secretary Angela Kirk, Ryanair’s Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson proposed a neutral venue at Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport for the meeting.

He blamed Aer Lingus pilots for trying to cause the disruption on Thursday and a series of days in July and August.

“We have asked you to explain a letter signed by an Aer Lingus pilot (Evan Cullen) to the Dublin Airport Authority on June 25, in which he “contemplates a series of one and two day disruptions during July and August,” he said.

“Please explain why an Aer Lingus pilot is arranging a series of strikes at Dublin Airport during July and August, some 10 days before the Ryanair pilots’ ballot had even been concluded.”

He said it was clear from this letter and the union’s refusal to meet at Ryanair offices, that “no matter what we do, a small number of our pilots, led by Aer Lingus pilots” are determined to disrupt flight and customers.

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