Pilots at Ryanair announce 48 hour strike from August 22nd
Posted on 14th August 2019 at 21:10
Thousands of passengers will be disrupted by action ‘over coming weeks’, airline says
Ryanair pilots in Ireland have voted to strike over two days this month.
The move was announced on Wednesday evening following a ballot which will see them remain grounded on Thursday and Friday, August 22nd and 23rd, at the height of the summer holiday season.
The trade union Fórsa served strike notice on the company and said pilots would notify the company of “further strike days in due course”.
With UK pilots and cabin crew in Portugal also planning to strike on August 22nd the move will bring substantial disruption to European services on that day.
Wednesday’s announcement comes after 94 per cent of directly-employed Ryanair pilots, who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA), voted to back industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay, working conditions and related issues.
According to the union, IALPA submitted a 30-page proposal to Ryanair management in March seeking pay levels and structures it says are in line with sector norms. It also included proposals on pensions, working conditions and related matters.
The union entered mediation talks chaired by Kieran Mulvey on Tuesday but with the proviso that “only a substantive counter-proposal from Ryanair management” would deter them from taking industrial action. No such proposal was received, it said.
“(The pilots) tell me they feel forced into serving notice of potentially-disruptive industrial action by a company that seems either unwilling or unable to negotiate in a professional, transparent and constructive manner,” Fórsa national secretary Angela Kirk said on Wednesday evening.
The Fórsa statement did not give details of pay demands but Ryanair said they were looking for increases of 101 per cent on top of current annual pay of over €172,000.
“Ryanair pilots who are already among the best paid workers in Ireland are now threatening to disrupt the holiday travel plans of thousands of customers over the coming weeks,” the airline’s chief people officer Eddie Wilson said in a counter statement.
“We remain willing to engage in Mediation with our pilots and Fórsa but call on them to avoid disrupting our customers’ travel plans in pursuit of what are clearly unrealistic and un-implementable pay proposals.”
The move comes as unions representing cabin crew working for the airline in Spain announced plans to hold 10 days of stoppages in September unless it changes plans to close several bases in the country.
Fórsa said it had submitted a 30-page proposal to Ryanair management last March which sought pay levels and structures that are in line with sector norms, and which made detailed proposals on pensions, working conditions and related matters.
Ryanair is also facing potential industrial relations difficulties in Britain and in Portugal.
In Spain on Wednesday the SITCPLA and USO workers’ unions said the threat of strike action was aimed at preventing the planned closure of bases at Gran Canaria, Tenerife South and Girona airports.
In a statement the unions said they planned to formally lodge notice of strikes on September 1st, 2nd, 6th, 8th, 13th, 15th, 20th, 22nd, 27th and 28th, unless Ryanair made concessions in the coming days.
SITCPLA spokesman Manuel Lodeiro said in a statement the unions were open to mediation by Spanish labour agency SIMA but added “we doubt very much the willingness of Ryanair to reach an agreement”.
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