Ryanair strike: union calls for meeting as soon as possible
President of Irish travel agents group says ‘it’s probably too late to leave talks until Tuesday’
Ryanair said it will announce on Monday which flights will be affected if Wednesday’s planned 24-strike by some pilots goes ahead. Photograph: AFP
Impact Trade Union has said the sooner it meets Ryanair management the better ahead of the planned strike by its pilot members on Wednesday.
In a statement on Saturday, Ryanair said it had offered to meet Impact/Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) and their Ryanair pilot committee on Tuesday “if that would suit them better”.
Ryanair said it will publish contingency plans “to minimise these disruptions for our customers on Monday [December] 18th on our website”.
This followed a rejection by the unions of an original offer by the airline to meet on Wednesday, the day of the strike. The unions said they could not call off the strike before having a meeting to discuss the airline’s agreeing to union recognition.
“We are happy to go ahead and meet on Tuesday,” a spokesman for Impact told The Irish Times on Sunday. “Similarly, we remain available to meet at a sooner time. The sooner we meet, the better.”
In a statement on Saturday, Ryanair said: “The Portuguese pilot union has requested a meeting next week and Ryanair has offered to meet them on Thursday, December 21st. The British and Italian pilots’ unions have agreed to meet with Ryanair in early January.
“Ryanair has again called on Impact/Ialpa to cancel the threatened industrial action on Wednesday December 20th (as the Italian and German unions have already done) which is causing unnecessary concern and worry for thousands of Ryanair customers travelling home during Christmas week.”
“We apologise sincerely to our customers for any worry or concern that this threatened action, during Christmas week by a small number of very well paid pilots, may cause them. Rest assured that we will do everything we can to minimise disruption for our customers,” it added.
Up to 117 members of the IALPA -which is part of Impact - working for Ryanair are set to take part in the planned 24-hour stoppage on Wednesday.
No details have been provided by the airline of how many or which flights are likely to be affected.
President of the Irish Travel Agents Association, Cormac Meehan said “it is probably too late to leave talks until Tuesday”.
“It doesn’t give people a lot of time. Customers can’t make alternative arrangements until they know they know their flights are actually cancelled.
“The company and the union should meet today [Sunday] if possible or tomorrow [Monday], consumers need to know with certainty what sort of alternative arrangements they will have to make.”
Impact trade union spokesman Bernard Harbor said on Saturday the union wanted to meet before Wednesday to confirm the airline was committed to engaging with staff and to outline how the recognition of unions would work.
He said the union wanted to meet the airline ahead of Wednesday “to make sure that there is substance to the offer they made in writing and to flesh out how that recognition process would proceed”.
“Once we have that we’re ready to lift the industrial action, but we need to do that first,” he told RTÉ Radio One.
“Given the seriousness of the situation I think it would be good if they could move their diaries around and find availability,” he said.