Ryanair invites pilots’ union to talks as fourth strike looms

Pilots in Germany vote for industrial action in support of pay claim

Ryanair said on Monday that it has invited Fórsa to meet following the strike, which it says will involve just 25 per cent of its Irish pilots

Ryanair said on Monday that it has invited Fórsa to meet following the strike, which it says will involve just 25 per cent of its Irish pilots

 

Ryanair has invited pilots’ union representatives to talks in anticipation of a fourth strike at the airline this week.

The move came as pilots employed by Ryanair in Germany voted for industrial action in support of a pay claim.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) – part of trade union Fórsa – plan a fourth one-day strike on Friday, August 3rd in a dispute over base transfers, promotions, leave and other issues.

Ryanair said on Monday that it had invited Ialpa/Fórsa to meet following the strike, which it says will involve just 25 per cent of its Irish pilots.

Chief operating officer Peter Bellew said that Ryanair hoped Ialpa-Fórsa would meet the company either next Saturday or any day the following week, “as long as no more strikes are called while we meet”.

The company maintains that it has agreed to nine of 11 conditions that the union has set out as a basis for suspending industrial action.

However, Ialpa/Fórsa responded that Ryanair was “very much exaggerating” the common ground between the sides. “We are available to talk at any time,” the union added.

Ialpa/Fórsa told members in Ryanair the company had changed the wording on a number of its demands before going on to say that it had agreed to them.

The issues at the centre of the dispute are tied to seniority. Pilots want transparent systems for managing them based on a master seniority list.

The airline says that it has agreed to this, but Ialpa/Fórsa’s Ryanair company council told members in a update that management had not agreed to a single master seniority list, and instead offered separate lists for captains and first officers.

Ialpa/Fórsa also disputes that Ryanair has agreed to a form showing positions available at each of the airline’s bases across Europe.

The airline says it is happy to agree to a transfer list for all bases, but the union maintains that this is not what pilots sought.

The union detailed the 11 conditions in a letter to Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, last May.

German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) on Monday described its vote for industrial action as a bid for collective labour agreements at Europe’s largest low-cost carrier. The result came following a month-long ballot of members.

Ryanair management met the pilot union’s representatives in Frankfurt last week. VC said the talks ended without the progress for which the organisation hoped and gave Ryanair until August 6th to make another offer.

In Ireland the airline has already cancelled 20 of 300 flights on Friday and reaccommodated or refunded the 3,500 passengers affected. Consequently, it cannot restore these services if the strike is called off. – (Additional reporting Reuters)