Ryanair reverses decision on moving aircraft from Dublin

European crew threaten to strike as pilots’ deal averts transfer of up to 300 Irish jobs

Glass Lewis has called on Ryanair shareholders not to re-elect chairman David Bonderman over his links to chief executive Michael O’Leary (above).

Ryanair has reversed a decision to shift six aircraft from Dublin Airport this winter with the possible loss or transfer of 300 jobs after pilots agreed to settle a dispute with the carrier.

Directly employed members of the Irish Airline Pilots' Association, part of the trade union Fórsa, voted this week to accept a proposals to end the dispute agreed in talks led by mediator Kieran Mulvey.

As a result, Ryanair's board on Friday reversed a decision to move six craft from Dublin to Poland from October and the airline has withdrawn protective notice issued to 300 pilots and cabin crew.

A statement said the board moved to respond favourably to the deal that ended five days of “unsuccessful but damaging” one-day strikes by 25 per cent of Ryanair’s Irish-based pilots.


Moving the aircraft would have resulted in the laying off, or possible transfer to Poland, of 100 pilots and 200 cabin crew.

Eddie Wilson, Ryanair's chief people officer, said the company's staff have enjoyed significant pay increases and improved conditions since it agreed to recognise unions in December.

“We have done this in a year when we expect profits to fall by 15 per cent due to a combination of higher fuel prices and higher staff costs,” he said.

European strike threat

After the news was announced, Ryanair cabin crew outside Ireland said they were considering the biggest strikes in the airline’s history unless it agreed to improve their working conditions.

Unions representing employees in Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands threatened in a joint letter to extend the summer of industrial action into the autumn.

After a meeting in Rome, they demanded that staff be given local contracts under local law rather than Irish contracts, which Ryanair uses across its European workforce. They said the strike would take place in the last week of September and that a decision on whether to go ahead would be made by Thursday, September 13th.

Ryanair, which says its staff have better conditions than many low-cost rivals, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Executive pay

Meanwhile, investor adviser Glass Lewis has recommended shareholders vote against Ryanair's executive pay proposals at the company's annual general meeting this month.

The proposal, which was backed by more than 88 per cent last year, "lags behind" generally accepted market practice in Ireland and Britain, "effectively stripping" shareholders of the ability to evaluate the incentive structure, Glass Lewis argued.

The firm also opposed the reappointment of Ryanair's chairman of more than two decades, US billionaire David Bonderman, and the reappointment of Davy Stockbrokers deputy chairman Kyran McLaughlin as senior independent director.

Ryanair said shareholders would pass all agm resolutions by a large majority, including the nomination of directors and chairman, as they have done in all previous years.

The airline added that it “appreciated” having Mr Bonderman to guide the board and company. – additional reporting: Reuters/Guardian

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter