Ryanair's Dublin-based pilots to strike five days before Christmas - and there could be more to come
It could be a difficult week for Ryanair
as the budget airline's Dublin-based pilots have announced their plans to go on strike in the lead-up to Christmas.
Ryanair pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilot's Association (IALPA) have served the company management with a notice of a one-day strike to take place on Wednesday 20th December.
The news comes after IALPA held a vote earlier this week, where 79 out of 84 members voted in favour of industrial action.
Now, IMPACT trade union has confirmed that the strike will go ahead - and they've warned that if no agreement is reached, then there could be further strike days.
The dispute comes after Ryanair refused to recognise the European Employee Representative Council (EERC) or IALPA, and therefore refused to engage with discussions of pay and working conditions, unless these aer through 'employee representative councils' under management.
It's worth noting that not all of the Dublin-based pilots will be on strike, as IALPA only represents those directly employed by the airline (Ryanair often hires pilots through third parties).
However, the majority of these are captains, without whom the planes can't be flown, so it's a major problem for Ryanair who are likely to face a series of disruptions to their schedule as a result.
Not to mention that Dublin is one of their biggest bases - and the lead-up to Christmas is one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
In a previous statement addressing the ballot vote result
, Ryanair had hinted that participating pilots "will lose their favourable rosters (5on/4off, a double bank holiday every week) and remuneration benefits that are specifically linked by agreement to dealing directly with Ryanair".
However, this hasn't deterred Irish pilots from announcing the strike - and unless an agreement is reached between both sides, it could mean even further disruptions for travellers.
IMPACT official Ashley Connolly said Ryanair was the only Irish-based airline that refuses to recognise independent pilot representatives.
"This dispute is solely about winning independent representation for pilots in the company. Management’s failed negotiating model has let down shareholders and tens of thousands of passengers, whose flights were cancelled this year because company-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."
Meanwhile, Ryanair has issued a statement via its corporate website
in which the airline explained that it "welcomes" the notice which the airline says "conclusively proves that it is about union recognition for the Aer Lingus pilots union IALPA and not about pay and conditions for Ryanair pilots".
The airline also confirmed that Dublin pilots who take part in the strikes will lose benefits including favourable rosters, certain pay benefits and promotion opportunities.
It also confirmed that it would still not be recognising IALPA as a union with which to engage.
You can read the full statement below.
The full Ryanair statement:
"Ryanair has this afternoon received the attached notice from the Aer Lingus pilots union IALPA of a 24 hour strike “by pilots directly employed by Ryanair” on Wed 20 Dec 2017.
"Ryanair welcomes this notice which conclusively proves that it is about union recognition for the Aer Lingus pilots union IALPA and not about pay and conditions for Ryanair pilots who in Dublin can earn between €150,000 to €190,000 p.a. for working a 5on/4off roster (a double bank holiday weekend every week), and have been offered a 20% pay increase (at a time when IALPA are recommending a 3% increase to Aer Lingus pilots).
"Ryanair will deal with any such disruptions if, or when they arise, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any upset or worry this threatened action by less than 28% of our Dublin pilots may cause them over the coming days.
"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 these 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 those agreed benefits which arise from dealing directly with Ryanair, including the 5on/4off 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 workers, Ryanair’s very well paid pilots are free to join unions, but like every other multinational, Ryanair is also free – under both Irish & EU 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 p.a.) try to disrupt our flights or our customers plans during Christmas week."