Ryanair talks aim to avoid pilot strikes
8 August 2019, 09:08 | Updated: 8 August 2019, 09:11
Stansted-based airline Ryanair will try to reach a deal with unions later - to avoid pilot strikes later this summer.
Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) have voted to walk out on the 22nd and 23rd of August, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of September.
They're unhappy about their pay and conditions.
A union statement said: "Decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions has resulted in two things. Firstly, a management that apparently doesn't understand how to work with unions, and secondly a company that doesn't have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace.
"That is why our claim includes many issues including pensions; loss of license insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure.
"We have made no progress with Ryanair management on any of those areas at all, seemingly because Ryanair management cannot understand how to go about working with us constructively, or how to negotiate. Ryanair has made no offer to Balpa in respect of its pilots."
Brian Strutton, Balpa's general secretary, said: "We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action. No pilot wants to spoil the public's travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice."
A Ryanair spokesman said: "We are disappointed that Balpa is threatening to disrupt our customers' travel plans during late August, early September, when it has the support of less than 30% of Ryanair's UK pilots.
"The independent result of Balpa's ballot shows that less than 50% of Ryanair's UK pilots are members of Balpa and of these, just 57% voted in favour of industrial action.
"This is less than 30% of Ryanair's UK pilots. It is notable that over 70% of Ryanair's UK pilots are either not members of Balpa or did not vote in Balpa's ballot, or voted against industrial action.
"Balpa have no mandate to disrupt our customers' holidays and flights, particularly at a time when UK pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no-deal Brexit on 31 Oct.
"Last year, Ryanair's UK pilots agreed a 20% salary increase, with Senior Captains earning up to £180,000 pa, which is more than competitor airline pilots in Norwegian or Jet2.
"Balpa is recommending a pay freeze for Jet2 pilots in return for improved rosters (which Ryanair pilots already enjoy), and/or 12 months unpaid leave for Norwegian's Gatwick pilots.
"This Balpa industrial action has no mandate from Ryanair pilots, is ill-timed just 10 weeks before Brexit, and will cause unnecessary disruption to customers' holidays and travel plans. We have written to Balpa asking them to return to talks, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any uncertainty that Balpa's ballot may cause them.
"We hope Balpa will now work with Ryanair to minimise job losses instead of undertaking ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action."