Michael Staines
Michael Staines

09.40 15 Aug 2019


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Ryanair expects the majority of its flights to go ahead next week despite a 48-hour strike by its Irish-based pilots.

The airline’s directly-employed pilots announced the strike after mediation talks broke down yesterday.

The strike will get underway at Midnight on Thursday August 22nd.

The Fórsa trade union said the airline has made no “substantive” proposal to address pilot concerns over pay and working conditions.

The airline is accusing union representatives of “extraordinary behaviour” after they pulled out of talks.

"Off the charts"

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Ryanair’s Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson said he remains hopeful most of the airline's flights can still go ahead.

He said the airline managed to complete over 93% of its flights during industrial disputes last year, “with the help of our crews.

“I think when our crews look at this and see that a union in 2019 is looking for a 100% pay increase when they had already received a 20% pay increase – it is off the charts,” he said.

“It is unbelievable in the last weekend of August to be threatening our customers with this type of action.

“We have been reasonable throughout this process and they have abandoned the mediation process.”

Proposals

The pilots are represented by the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA), which is a branch of the Fórsa trade union.

The union said it has submitted a proposal to Ryanair seeking pay levels that are “common and competitive in the commercial airline sector.”

The 30-page proposal also included proposals on pensions, working conditions and a range of related matters.

The union walked out of yesterday’s talks warning that Ryanair had made no "substantive and meaningful” counter-proposal.

Ryanair said the pilots were asking for a 101% pay increase at a time when the company was saddled with a surplus of 500 pilots due to issues with the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet and the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

It claimed that the pilots currently earn over €172,000 a year.

Ryanair

On Newstalk Breakfast, Fórsa spokesperson Bernard Harbour said further strikes are likely after next week.

“No other dates have been announced,” he said.

“We regret any inconvenience that Ryanair’s attitude is going to cause to the travelling public but if there is not a solution to this problem around the negotiation table, there is likely to be further industrial action after next week.”

Ryanair’s UK-based pilots have already announced a total of five strike days this month and next.


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