Ryanair Offers Pilot Unions Recognition To Stop Strikes

December 15, 2017

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In a surprise move Irish low cost carrier Ryanair has offered to negotiate on union recognition for its European pilot groups.

The move is an attempt by Ryanair to head off a series of strikes, with the first, a four hour stoppage by its Italy-based pilots scheduled for today.

The airline said it has written to pilot unions in six countries - Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK - offering talks to recognise the unions as the representative body for Ryanair pilots in each of the countries, but with the proviso that they establish committees of Ryanair pilots to deal with Ryanair issues.

The airline said it will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines in Ireland or elsewhere.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary has been strongly opposed to union recognition, with the airline saying as recently as Tuesday that it would “face down” the Irish pilot union IALPA’s intention to strike for 24 hours on Wednesday.

O’Leary said in a statement on its offer that “recognising unions will be a significant change for Ryanair, but we have delivered radical change before… Putting the needs of our customers first, and avoiding disruption to their Christmas flights, is the reason why we will now deal with our pilots through recognised national union structures.”

He said he hoped and expected the structures can be agreed early in the New Year.

Ryanair had been notified of threatened industrial action with Italy-based pilots due to strike from 13:00 to 17:00 (1pm-5pm) today, followed by a 24-hour strike by Ireland-based pilots on Wednesday December 20, with Portuguese pilot union SPAC also calling a strike for Wednesday.

Pilots based in Spain and Germany were also considering industrial action.