Pilots union seeks stay on Ryanair case

Airline initiated proceedings over planned strike

Ryanair estimated the proposed pilots strike resulted in financial losses of €13.7 million. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ryanair estimated the proposed pilots strike resulted in financial losses of €13.7 million. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

A trade union representing Ryanair’s Irish-based pilots is seeking a High Court order preventing the airline from progressing its legal action against them.

Fórsa, the parent union of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa), wants a stay on Ryanair’s action until mediation talks over a dispute on pay and conditions are concluded.

Ryanair initiated proceedings last August against the union and several named pilots, including Ialpa president Evan Cullen, over a planned 48-hour strike over pay and conditions that had been scheduled to take place on August 22nd and 23rd.

The industrial action did not proceed after Ryanair secured an injunction preventing it. That injunction, which was fully contested by Fórsa, remains in place pending the full hearing of the dispute.

As well as granting the injunction last August, Mr Justice Denis McDonald directed that the airline progress the full hearing of its claim, where it seeks damages, against the defendants.

The judge sought an undertaking from Ryanair to progress its action so as to “protect the union’s position” and ensure it would “not be left in limbo”.

Mediation

The matter returned before the court last month and was adjourned after Mr Justice McDonald was informed the sides had returned to mediation. On Friday, Marguerite Bolger SC, for Fórsa, secured permission from Mr Justice John Jordan to bring a motion seeking to stay the Ryanair proceedings pending the outcome of the mediation.

The application was being made because Ryanair was seeking to have the dispute admitted to the fast-track commercial court list, counsel said. The fast-track application will be opposed by Fórsa, which maintains it has a binding agreement that the proceedings are to be adjourned pending the outcome of the mediation, counsel said.

Permission to bring the motion was granted on an ex-parte basis and the matter was returned to next Thursday. In its proceedings Ryanair seeks various orders against the defendants, including damages, arising from the planned industrial action last August.

It claims, from late July, it experienced a significant drop in demand for bookings and was required to reduce its prices to stimulate demand and mitigate its loses.

The airline has claimed it lost almost 125,000 bookings it expected to make between mid-July and mid-August for flying dates up to March 31st, 2020. It estimates the proposed strike resulted in financial losses of €13.7 million.

It also claimed it suffered additional damage due to negative publicity and damage to its business and brand.