Ryanair granted injunction preventing strike by Irish pilots

However airline loses in its court attempt to block strike by UK pilots

The High Court has granted Ryanair an injunction preventing its Irish-based pilots from going on strike later this week.

The High Court has granted Ryanair an injunction preventing its Irish-based pilots from going on strike later this week.

 

Ryanair has welcomed the High Court injunction stopping its Irish-based pilots from going on strike later this week.

However it wasn’t such good news either for the airline or its UK-based passengers after the High Court in London refused its application for an injunction to stop a two-day stoppage planned by some of its pilots in that jurisdiction which looks set to run until midnight on Friday.

It said the court ruling would “come as a huge relief to thousands of Irish passengers and their families during the last week of the school holidays” adding that all its flights scheduled to depart airports in the Republic on Thursday and Friday would now operate as normal.

The airline also called on the FORSA Union to return to mediation “so that any disputes can be resolved without unnecessarily disrupting the travel plans of thousands of Irish passengers and their families”.

For its part, Fórsa’s said it would have to study the judge’s comments and consult with its legal team before commenting further.

A spokesman said it was it was” grateful to the judge for the speed with which the case had been dealt with.

“On foot of today’s ruling, the union has informed its members, who are directly employed Ryanair pilots based in the Republic of Ireland, that the strikes planned for tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday (23rd August) will not now take place.

“Once the union has the ruling in writing, we will consider it in detail and consult with our legal team. Only then will Forsa be in a position to consider its next steps.”

The spokesman said the union was of the view that it would be “inappropriate to comment further until Justice McDonald has made a full interlocutory ruling.”

In his ruling on Wednesday morning Mr Justice McDonald said that he was satisfied from the evidence that Ryanair DAC was entitled to orders against Forsa, which is the parent union of IALPA, preventing the airline pilots from striking for 48 hours commencing on midnight on August 22nd.

The orders are to remain in place pending the full hearing of the dispute. IALPA represents approximately 180 Dublin based pilots who are directly employed by Ryanair, recently balloted its members who voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Ryanair’s action, which was opposed, was also against several pilots who are members of IALPA, including that union’s president Mr Evan Cullen.

In seeking the injunction the airline, represented by Martin Hayden SC and Eoin O’Shea Bl claimed that the proposed strike breached an agreement the parties signed up to last year. It claimed that agreement, following industrial action last July/August, was entered into following a mediation conducted by retired Workplace Relations Commission Chair Mr Kieran Mulvey.

The airline also claimed that there is no valid trade dispute between the parties. The airline also claimed that the dates of the industrial action were chosen to cause maximum disruption to its business and coincide with strike action being taken on the same dates by Ryanair’s UK-based pilots.

Ryanair’s case that the strike ballot is invalid because not all relevant members of the union who are directly employed by Ryanair were balloted. The claims had been denied.

The defendants represented Marguerite Bolger SC, appearing with Jason Murray Bl said that the ballot was fully compliant with the union’s own rules and Industrial Relations laws. The union claimed it was involved in a trade dispute relating to pay with Ryanair, who it claims has failed to agree or engage with proposals it made last March.

Forsa’s claimed the 2018 agreement only concerns issues that arose between Ryanair and the union members in July and August 2018, and has nothing to do with the current dispute. The union said that agreement related to specific issues including pilots grades, annual leave and base transfers.

Ryanair is also taking High Court action in London in a bid to block threatened strikes by its UK pilots.

Lawyers representing the airline asked a judge to grant an injunction at a hearing on Wednesday.

Mrs Justice Lambert was told that members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) planned industrial action on Thursday and Friday, and in early September, following a dispute over pay and conditions. Lawyers representing the union oppose Ryanair’s bid. The hearing is expected to last several hours.

A strike by Ryanair’s Portuguese cabin crew started on Wednesday, with the low cost airline warning passengers that a small number of flights may be affected and the government ordering workers to deliver a minimum service to avoid chaos. The five-day strike called by Portugal’s SNPVAC union is the first of a wave of planned walkouts by unions in Europe. It comes a year after strikes over pay and conditions forced Europe’s largest low cost carrier to cancel hundreds of flights.

Ryanair said on Tuesday a small number of fights from its Portuguese bases might be affected by minor schedule changes and that affected customers had been notified. There are no delays or cancellations reported so far at Lisbon, Porto and Faro airports.