Ryanair recognition to be discussed by global pilots union

International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations to discuss Ryanair at March conference

Global pilot unions are likely to discuss Ryanair’s pledge to recognise organised labour at a conference this spring.

The airline reversed a long-standing policy by agreeing to recognise unions in December in a bid to avert threatened pilot strikes at Irish and European airports during the pre-Christmas travel period.

The International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations is likely to discuss the move at a conference in Luxembourg on March 13th and 14th.

Senior figures from the European Cockpit Association – an umbrella body for pilots' organisation in Europe – will exchange information on the state of play of recognition talks between the airline and individual unions.


Union sources said on Friday that those discussions would determine how Ryanair pilots would be advised on the next steps towards securing recognition.

Ryanair has begun talks on recognition with unions across Europe, including the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa), part of trade union Fórsa, but finalising agreements with them is likely to take some time.


Earlier this week, the airline said that talks with Ialpa/Fórsa were progressing slowly. At the same time, it noted that discussions with the British Airline Pilots’ Association were moving quickly.

The airline said on Friday it did not comment on continuing discussions with staff.

Up to December, Ryanair did not deal with trade unions. The airline’s position was that it did not deny staff the right to join unions, but it was not obliged to recognise them for collective bargaining purposes.

Fight cancellations

Pilots began agitating for a change to Ryanair's collective bargaining structures last autumn following multiple flight cancellations sparked by a mix-up over holiday rosters.

They wanted to replace the company-endorsed employee representative councils that negotiated with the airline on behalf of staff at each of its individual bases.

Ryanair pilots at a number of bases, including Ialpa members in the Republic, voted to strike in December after the company did not respond to letters from unions calling on it to begin talks with named representatives working with the airline.

Ryanair subsequently announced that it would recognise pilots’ unions and then pledged to do the same for organisations representing cabin crew. It began talks with Ialpa and others shortly before Christmas. This process is continuing.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas