Irish Ryanair staff call on Michael O’Leary to negotiate new accord
Letter to Ryanair lists representatives ready to discuss airline’s collective agreements
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary: Airline was agreeing new deals that would result in Ryanair pilots being 20 per cent better paid than those in rivals such as Norwegian and Jet2. Photograph: François Lenoir
Ryanair pilots are calling on its chief executive Michael O’Leary to begin talks with named Irish representatives of a group seeking to negotiate new collective agreements with the airline.
The recently formed European Employee Representative Council (EERC) is campaigning to negotiate on behalf of Ryanair’s 4,000-plus pilots with the support of unions in countries where the airline operates.
A letter to Mr O’Leary and two other executives names captains Robert Kilroy, David Saunders, Edward O’Neill, Fergus Cassidy, Michael Healy and Seamus Bulger, and first officer Robert Garland, as the Ryanair Company Council in Ireland.
The letter, from the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA), calls on Ryanair to enter talks with the EERC on pilot representation at the airline. It also states that Ryanair will have to negotiate contracts at a national level with pilots in the Republic.
The association says that, with its support, the seven pilots will negotiate a collective agreement with Ryanair for pilots in Ireland.
It is understood that copies of the letter were delivered to Mr O’Leary; Eddie Wilson, Ryanair’s chief people officer; and Diarmuid Rodgers, its head of flight operations, early on Monday afternoon.
Its letter is part of a campaign by the EERC that involves pilot unions across Europe writing to Ryanair calling on it to enter talks.
The airline is likely to receive further such letters this week from other countries where it operates. Ryanair does not deal with trade unions, but says that it does not ban staff from joining them. Instead it negotiates individual deals with employee representative councils at all its 86 bases.
The company points out that the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that this system meets all the requirements of a sophisticated collective bargaining process.
In response, Ryanair said it had repeatedly confirmed it would not engage with the EERC or “any other group fronting for the pilot unions of competitor airlines”.
The airline said that while the pilots’ unions continued to send “meaningless” letters to the media, it was agreeing new deals that would result in Ryanair pilots being 20 per cent better paid than those in rivals such as Norwegian and Jet2. By last week, the airline had agreements with pilots in 20 of its bases.
Ryanair pointed out that a further 36 pilots joined the airline last week, bringing to 1,081 the number it had recruited since January 1st.