Ryanair proposes third party mediation amid continuing dispute with Dublin-based pilots

Pilots with the Fórsa trade union are taking part in their fourth 24-hour strike today

Ryanair proposes third party mediation amid continuing dispute with Dublin-based pilots

Image: Paul Quinn

Updated 12pm

Ryanair has proposed third party mediation in a bid to resolve its dispute with dozens of Irish pilots.

Around 100 directly employed Ireland-based Ryanair pilots are today on strike for a fourth day.

The airline has cancelled 24 Irish flights as a result of today's action by around 25% of pilots here, affecting around 3,500 passengers.

It comes amid a continuing dispute with the trade union Fórsa over issues such as seniority and base transfers.

Industrial relations problems are continuing at the airline, with a fifth day of strike action announced for next Friday.

In a statement, Ryanair has now proposed former head of the Workplace Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey as a third party mediator.

Ryanair's Eddie Wilson said: "[Mr Mulvey's] background and experience could be a positive influence.

"We now call on Fórsa to accept Mr Mulvey as a 3rd party mediator, an initiative Fórsa have repeatedly called for in recent weeks.”

"Hardening of resolve"

In a statement yesterday, the Fórsa trade union said the industrial action is likely to continue until there is "substantial movement" on the pilots’ demands.

They said: "The airline’s escalation of the dispute last Wednesday (25th July) – when it threatened to sack 100 pilots and 200 cabin crew, or transfer them to Poland – led to a predictable hardening of resolve among its staff.

"There cannot be a resolution to this dispute if management persists with its precondition to talks, which is virtually unprecedented in similar situations across Irish industrial relations."

Fórsa's Nial Shanahan added: "The key to this now is to try and begin a conversation that closes the gap between the parties, rather than an escalation of language and of threats that push them further apart.

"The more that goes on, the further we are away from a resolve to this dispute."

"Irresponsible"

Ryanair, meanwhile, claims to have agreed to nine out of 11 of the pilots' demands.

The airline's Kenny Jacobs said: “This fifth strike notice by Fórsa is irresponsible, unwarranted and is disrupting customers and (a way of damaging) Ryanair’s business and our share price.

"Even when Ryanair invites Fórsa to meetings, Fórsa rejects the invitation and calls more strikes."

Next week's action will coincide with already announced strikes by Ryanair pilots in Belgium and Sweden.

Ryanair has warned that Dutch and German pilots could also strike in 'coordinated' action next week.