Ryanair pilots to strike, and threaten more action over summer

Pilots based in Ireland voted to take industrial action this afternoon

Ryanair’s summer is off to a rocky start as their pilots who are based in Ireland have voted to strike for 24 hours on Thursday 12 July.

The industrial action comes on the heels of news that Europe’s largest low-cost carrier had to cancel more than 1,100 flights in June because of air traffic control strikes and staff shortages.

More than 99 per cent of pilots who were balloted in a meeting of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) voted to proceed with a strike next week. IALPA has notified Ryanair of its members’ decision.

Athens Airport increases operations by 70% in 4 years Nikos Stamos / Shutterstock Ryanair pilots based in Ireland voted to go on strike on Thursday 12 July – Nikos Stamos / Shutterstock Ryanair pilots to strike, and threaten more over summer
Ryanair pilots based in Ireland voted to go on strike on Thursday 12 July – Nikos Stamos / Shutterstock

Ryanair published a statement on Twitter stating that they were “disappointed by this strike notice which is unnecessary”.

The International Transport Workers Federation, who represent many of Ryanair’s cabin crew, are planning to meet in Dublin soon. They have also threatened a summer of rolling strikes  to “voice their grievances and formulate a charter of demands”.

Pilots will down tools for a period of 24 hours, commencing at 01.00 on Thursday, 12 July. Only pilots based in Ireland took part in the ballot.

The dispute is over Ryanair’s management’s approach to transferring pilots between its European and African bases. IALPA claims that it requested talks with management over the issue, who responded “with a threat to move Dublin-based aircraft and pilots to other airports and cut promotion opportunities”.

Ryanair pilots to strike, and threaten more over summer
Ryanair’s pilots based in Germany are also being balloted about industrial action – Shuterstock

Ryanair’s statement read: “Ryanair has today received a strike notice from FORSA on behalf of some 100 Irish pilots (Ryanair has over 4,000 pilots) threatening a 24 hour strike on Thursday, 12 July next [sic]

“Ryanair is disappointed by this strike notice which is unnecessary, given that it has already forwarded to FORSA draft proposals on recognition, base transfers, a seniority list for all Irish and a new annual leave system based on seniority. Ryanair has invited FORSA to meet to discuss these proposals on 18 different occasions, but FORSA have failed to reply or take up any of these invitations to meet.

“Ryanair will communicate next Tuesday by email and SMS text with all customers travelling from Ireland next Thursday if this unnecessary strike goes ahead. 

“Since Ireland accounts for less than seven per cent of Ryanair flights, we expect that 93 per cent of our customers will be unaffected by any Irish pilot strike next Thursday.”

A spokesperson for IALPA said: “Our member pilots directly employed by Ryanair complain that there is no transparent system for the determination of important matters including voluntary/involuntary base transfer/allocation, command upgrade, allocation of annual leave and promotion.

“When a pilot receives notice of a mandatory base change, or is denied a request for a change of base, such management decisions can have a devastating effect on family life.”

IALPA wishes to come to an agreement with Ryanair’s management which would ”provide our member pilots directly employed by Ryanair with a fair and transparent mechanism to understand how and why they are in the base they are in, the order in which their turn may come up for a transfer, how and why they received a particular annual leave allocation, or any other decisions that should take due account of their length of service and seniority in the company”.

The Vereinigung Cockpit union in Germany is also balloting the Ryanair pilots they represent to see if there is an appetite for strikes in a dispute over pay and workloads, according to the Independent.

This article was updated at 19.34 on 3 July 2018 to include Ryanair’s statement.