Efforts to resolve dispute between Ryanair and Irish pilots to restart on Monday

Around 100 of Ryanair’s 350 Irish-based pilots held fifth one-day strike on Friday

Ryanair pilots on strike at Dublin Airport on Friday which was the fifth   24 hour work stoppage by pilots over pay and conditions. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins

Ryanair pilots on strike at Dublin Airport on Friday which was the fifth 24 hour work stoppage by pilots over pay and conditions. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins

 

Efforts to resolve a dispute between Ryanair and a group of its Irish pilots will restart on Monday under mediator Kieran Mulvey.

Around 100 of Ryanair’s 350 Irish-based pilots held their fifth one-day strike on Friday in a dispute over base transfers, promotions, leave and other issues.

They joined pilots in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Sweden in a series of strikes that forced the airline to cancel 396 of 2,400 flights, disrupting 67,000 passengers.

Both Ryanair and the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) - part of trade union Fórsa - confirmed that they will meet on Monday under mediator Kieran Mulvey in a fresh attempt to broker a resolution to the Irish dispute.

Ryanair last week proposed Mr Mulvey, former chairman of the Workplace Relations Commission, as an independent mediator, which Ialpa-Fórsa accepted.

The union originally proposed that the first meeting take place next Tuesday but the sides instead agreed that mediation should instead begin a day earlier.

Sources were hopeful on Friday that the process would lead to a breakthrough in a dispute that has been deadlocked for more than four weeks.

However, they cautioned that the process could be “challenging” for both sides.

It is thought that Mr Mulvey may ask the union to hold off on further strikes and seek that Ryanair row back from a move to cut its Dublin aircraft fleet from October with the possible loss or transfer of 300 jobs.

The airline and Ialpa-Fórsa met twice as the dispute gathered momentum in July but failed to make progress towards a resolution.

Ryanair cancelled 20 of 300 scheduled Irish flights ahead of Friday’s strike, but said it had re-accommodated or refunded the 3,500 passengers affected.

The company maintained it had rerouted or refunded 67,000 passengers hit by five pilot strikes in Europe, including the Irish dispute on Friday.

It also pointed out that more than 2,000 flights, 85 per cent of its schedule, carrying more than 400,000 people around the continent, took off as normal.

Jim Phillips, an official with German pilot union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), whose stoppage cancelled 250 flights, affecting 42,000 passengers, said the organisation would hold off on further action until it heard from Ryanair.

“We always give a company a few days to make an offer that we can negotiate on,” he said. Mr Phillips indicated it could be mid-week before VC decided on whether or not to take further action.

Ryanair did not say on Friday if it intended to contact VC in coming days but it has signalled that it was willing to meet the union to discuss proposals for a collective labour agreement.

VC’s action had the most impact. The strikes in Ireland, Belgium and Sweden hit 25,000 passengers in all.

Ryanair said it did not have to cancel any flights as a result of the Dutch pilots’ industrial action.

Pilot unions are making various demands on the company on pay, conditions and employment contracts.

Ryanair agreed to recognise trade unions in December, reversing a long-standing policy on organised labour.