Ryanair pilots’ group outlines its list of demands

Representative council seeks assurances from airline before engaging in talks

The group that says it is behind efforts to organise Ryanair pilots plans to seek assurances from the company before engaging in talks.

Ryanair negotiates with pilots through employee representative councils (ERCs) from each base but a recently established group is recruiting support to negotiate collectively on their behalf.

The interim European Employee Representative Council (EERC), which emerged as Ryanair was caught in a controversy over flight cancellations, said that it was seeking assurances from the airline ahead of beginning talks with it.

A list of the EERC’s eight demands includes that no legal action will be taken against any pilots involved in representative work.

That any disciplinary action against representatives will be handled by an agreed third party.

That representatives will not have their bases changed unless they request it.

That members be given paid rostered time off to engage in representative activities.

The letter from the council to Ryanair pilots says that those involved want to reveal their identities so that the organisation can engage openly with the company.

“However, we are concerned that we could be disadvantaged on a professional level if our identities become known outside the context of the base ERCs,” it says.

Ryanair does not deal with trade unions, but negotiates with ERCs from each base individually.

The new organisation wants to change this so that the company negotiates collectively with pilots on a regional basis. It says that it has the support from all of the airline’s 87 bases.

Ryanair responded on Monday that the EERC had no more status or validity than previous efforts by competitor airline unions to insert themselves into its direct dealing with pilots.

It pointed out that a letter from the chief executive, Michael O’Leary, warned that if pilots choose not to use the airline’s own ERCs, that could delay pay increases and other benefits offered by the airline.

Mr O’Leary, last week wrote to pilots offering improved wages and conditions, including a pledge to benchmark pay against rival carriers, one of the things sought by the new group.

Issues with pilots’ leave and the phasing in of a new system for calculating flying hours led to the airline cancelling thousands of flights between now and March affecting about 700,000 passengers.

Ryanair recently confirmed it had recruited 822 pilots so far this year, including 210 in the past 12 weeks. It employs 4,200 pilots across the organisation.

Mr O’Leary denied several times in recent weeks that large numbers of pilots were defecting to other carriers.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas