Striking Ryanair pilots in Ireland agree to mediation next week

Ialpa members welcome the appointment of Kieran Mulvey as mediator in dispute

 Ryanair pilots  on the picket line outside Ryanair headquarters in Airside, Swords,   on their fourth day of official strike action. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/  Collins

Ryanair pilots on the picket line outside Ryanair headquarters in Airside, Swords, on their fourth day of official strike action. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins

 

Striking pilots at Ryanair in Ireland have told the airline that they will accept its offer of mediation and are willing to meet next week.

Ryanair last week proposed industrial relations troubleshooter Kieran Mulvey as a mediator in a bid to resolve a dispute with 100 of its 350 pilots based in Ireland.

The directly-employed pilots are due to hold their fourth strike on August 10th, alongside pilots in Belgium and Sweden. Ryanair has already cancelled 20 of the 300 scheduled Irish flights ahead of the strike here and re-accommodated or refunded 3,500 passengers.

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) Ryanair company council wrote to Eddie Wilson, the carrier’s chief people officer at the weekend pointing out that the union had been seeking third party involvement for some time.

“On the basis that there will be no preconditions the Ialpa Ryanair company council accept the appointment of Mr Mulvey as a third party to mediate a process for the purpose of seeking a resolution to matters between us,” their letter says. The pilots add that they will be available on August 14th.

It is understood that Mr Mulvey is out of the country at the moment and is unlikely to be available before that date. Ryanair proposed him as a third-party mediator last Friday in a surprise move.

Transfers and promotions

Fórsa, the union of which Ialpa is a part, immediately welcomed Mr Mulvey’s nomination. Although it did not formally agree to the move, a statement indicated that the organisation would be willing to accept him as mediator.

Ryanair has confirmed it will cancel 16 flights on Tuesday as its Irish pilots continue a series of one-day strikes. File photograph: Enrique Calvo/Reuters
File photograph: Enrique Calvo/Reuters

Mr Mulvey is a former chairman of the Workplace Relations Commission and served on the body that preceded it, the Labour Relations Commission.

The German union is likely to indicate today or tomorrow if it intends striking on Friday along with the Irish, Belgian and Swedish pilots

News of his likely appointment as independent mediator raised the prospect of an end to the deadlocked dispute between Ryanair and the Ialpa-Fórsa members that it directly employs.

Ialpa-Fórsa members have been in dispute with Ryanair for a month over base transfers, promotions, leave and other issues linked to seniority.

The sides have clashed over 11 conditions set out by the union as a basis for suspending strikes.

It is thought the mediator could ask the union to suspend further strikes and call on the company to drop a proposal to cut its Dublin fleet from next October with the potential loss or transfer of 300 jobs.

Monday was also the deadline for Ryanair to provide updated collective labour agreement proposals to the German pilots’s union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), whose members also recently voted in favour of industrial action.

Cancellations

The airline has already said that it sent the revised proposals to VC last week, ahead of the deadline.

The German union is likely to indicate today or tomorrow if it intends striking on Friday along with the Irish, Belgian and Swedish pilots.

The Netherlands pilots’ union has also voted in favour of industrial action but it has yet to say if it will strike on Friday.

Along with the 20 Irish flights, Ryanair has cancelled 104 Belgian services and 22 to and from Sweden ahead of the pilot strikes in both countries on Friday.

It is offering to re-accommodate or refund passengers. The airline says that it has 2,400 flights scheduled for next Friday.