Ryanair pilots to strike over trade union representation in pay bargaining


Ryanair pilots who are based in Ireland and are members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) plan to strike on Wednesday 20 December 2017 in a dispute over trade union representation for matters such as collective pay bargaining.

Members of IALPA, a branch of Impact trade union, voted 94% in favour of industrial action in ballots conducted last week.

The dispute regards Ryanair management’s refusal to recognise, or negotiate with, the European Employee Representative Council (EERC) or IALPA as the sole, independent representative body for pilots working at the organisation. According to IALPA, instead Ryanair insists that any discussions of pay and working conditions must be conducted through management-controlled employee representative councils.

Ryanair has offered its pilots a 20% pay increase, which some have yet to accept.

A spokesperson at Ryanair said: “Ryanair is surprised that IALPA has threatened to disrupt Christmas week travel when IALPA’s own numbers confirm that it has the support of less than 28% of Ryanair’s over 300 Dublin pilots and when Ryanair’s Belfast, Cork and Shannon bases have already agreed [to] 20% pay deals. While some disruption may occur, Ryanair believes this will largely be confined to a small group of pilots who are working their notice and will shortly leave Ryanair, so they don’t care how much upset they cause colleagues or customers.

“Ryanair has already confirmed that any Dublin pilots who participate in this industrial action will be in breach of the Dublin pilots base agreement and they will lose agreed benefits which arise from dealing directly with Ryanair, including the five on-four off rosters, certain pay benefits and promotion opportunities until such time as they chose to return to the 25-year established practice of dealing directly with Ryanair.

“Like any group of [employees], Ryanair’s very well-paid pilots are free to join unions, but like every other multinational, Ryanair is also free, under both Irish and [European Union] law, to decline to engage with competitor pilot unions. Ryanair will not recognise an Aer Lingus pilot union, no matter how often or how long this tiny minority, earning between €150,000 to €190,000 [a year], try to disrupt our flights or our customers’ plans during Christmas week.”

Ashley Connolly, official at Impact, added: “This dispute is solely about winning independent representation for pilots in the [organisation]. Management’s failed negotiating model has let down shareholders and tens of thousands of passengers, whose flights were cancelled this year because [organisational]-controlled industrial relations proved incapable of recruiting and retaining enough pilots.

“The failed policy threatens to further disappoint shareholders and passengers, and further damage the airline’s reputation, because experienced pilots continue to leave the airline in droves. This dispute is about securing a safe space for negotiations, with independent representation that pilots can have confidence in.”