Tuesday 23 July 2019

Ryanair pilots in Portugal now preparing to strike next week

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

European pilot unions have continued to pile pressure on Ryanair, with pilots in Portugal now preparing to strike next Wednesday.

The mounting industrial actions that are being planned at the airline could spell travel misery for Christmas flyers.

The Portuguese pilots will strike the same day as Ryanair staff pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) withdraw labour for 24 hours in Ireland.

Ryanair pilots in Italy who are members of the ANPAC trade union are set to strike tomorrow for four hours.

A German pilot union is also understood to be preparing to announce a strike by Ryanair pilots next week.

Portuguese trade union SPAC said the strike next week is related to action by Ryanair colleagues in Ireland and Italy.

SPAC said it deeply regrets the disruption the strike will cause to passengers, but that it had been left with “no other options”.

The union said it is the Ryanair pilots who are the “key to opening the door to growth and expansion that will maximise returns to shareholders”.

SPAC said that it is “especially worrying” that Ryanair management would contemplate grounding some aircraft during the summer season rather than communicate with pilots.

The union said the strike in Portugal will be cancelled “if the Ryanair administration shows openness to constructive dialogue with a view to collective bargaining and recognition of the SPAC Business Commission as negotiator”.

It warned that further strike days could also take place.

In a circular to pilots, the British Airline Pilot Association (BALPA) said that it has continued to see significant numbers of Ryanair pilots joining the union.

And Spanish airline union SEPLA has recently written to Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary urging him to recognise the newly-established Ryanair company council within the union.

The union has insisted that the new council supersedes the existing, company-formed Employee Representative Committees that the airline has at its bases across Europe, including in Spain.

In the letter last week, SEPLA said it will also take whatever legal and other measures are open to it in order to secure collective bargaining rights for its members who are Ryanair pilots.

BALPA said that its membership increased “considerably” between September and November, with more than 200 pilots joining the union.

“December looks likely to be equally impressive as more and more Ryanair pilots express their support for a collective voice and proper negotiations via the ERC (Employee Representative Committee) structure,” it added.

Ryanair refuses to deal with unions, and is entitled under law not to do so. It has always said that its workers are free, however, to join unions.

Ryanair has vowed to meet any industrial action “head on”. It also threatened to freeze promotions, cut pilot pay and may even move aircraft out of Dublin if any industrial action is staged.

Pilots in Italy have been warned by Ryanair to turn up for work as normal tomorrow.

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