Irish-based Ryanair pilots picket the company's headquarters

Ryanair says pilots are "wasting our time and disrupting our Irish customers and their families"

Irish-based Ryanair pilots picket the company's headquarters

Ryanair pilots picket the company's headquarters in north Dublin | Image: Juliette Gash

Updated 17:02

Ryanair has insisted it is "making progress in its negotiations with unions around Europe" - and has accused Irish union Fórsa of "wasting our time and disrupting our Irish customers and their families."

Irish-based Ryanair pilots brought their second day of strike action to company headquarters today.

Pilots are calling for the introduction of a transparent seniority system - which could be used as the basis for decisions on base transfers, promotion, leave allocation and other issues.

Following negotiaitons last week, Fórsa said the union and management had "found some common ground."

Both sides agreed that the issues could be resolved by a joint working group - although they have failed to agree on the terms of reference for the group.

On Tuesday, the union said it was "regrettable" that Ryanair management has so far rejected the suggestion of of seeking outside help to resolve the dispute.

"Pointless"

In a letter this afternoon, the airline said it only received its latest correspondence from Fórsa two hours after it officially cancelled 16 flights in preparation for next Tuesday's third pilot strike.

It noted that it today signed two 'recognition agreements' with cabin crews in Germany and Italy.

It claimed that "during that same to-day period Fórsa has done nothing; except hold another pointless strike" and "refused to call off Tuesday's equally pointless strike."

Today was the second day of action by the pilots, with a third strike set for next Tuesday.

Some 24 flights from Dublin to the UK were cancelled today - and Ryanair has cancelled 16 more on Tuesday.

Fórsa has warned that it cannot rule out further strikes, unless their dispute around seniority is resolved.

 

Image: Juliette Gash

So far, nine hours of talks over two days have failed to produce results.

Fórsa spokesperson Niall Shanahan said third-party intervention might be needed to break the deadlock.

"There's still a lot of work to be done here in that respect - as it stands there's no suggestion that there would be a third-party involved.

"But certainly... in the case of any other industrial dispute that would be a good way to break the logjam".

File photo shows a Ryanair plane in Frankfurt, Germany | Image: Andreas Arnold/DPA/PA Images

Despite disruption to passengers, there was a lot of public support for pilots picketing outside Ryanair's headquarters in Dublin today.

Fórsa spokesman Bernard Harbour explains why the picket was moved away from the airport.

"I suppose to take the message to Ryanair management there.

"We are trying to negotiate (with) the company fair and transparent method of dealing with transfers of staff between bases.

"At the moment, this is done completely at the discretion of a manager: so if I turn up in the morning I can be told from tomorrow I'm going to be working out of north Africa or central Europe or eastern Europe - and I have no input whatsoever into that decision."

Cabin crew

Next week, around 600 flights are to be downed by separate cabin crew strikes in Belgium, Spain and Portugal.

Whether support for the pilots will endure throughout the wider disruption remains to be seen.

The airline has apologised to the 4,000 customers affected.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation says passenger rights are protected under European legislation.

It says all affected passengers should be aware of their entitlements.

If a flight is cancelled Ryanair must offer people the following choices:

  • re-routing as soon as possible
  • re-routing at a later date at your convenience
  • a refund

If people choose to be re-routed as soon as possible, Ryanair must provide care and assistance while they wait for the alternative flight.

This means:

  • meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time
  • hotel accommodation where an overnight stay becomes necessary
  • transport between the airport and place of accommodation (hotel or other)
  • two free telephone calls/access to email

With reporting from Juliette Gash and Michael Staines