The low-cost airline faces industrial action as negotiations with unions continue
Michael O’Leary has warned that Ryanair faces more strikes in Ireland and Portugal over the Easter week and during the summer.
The CEO of the low-cost airline told a news conference in Lisbon on Wednesday: “We expect some adverse publicity… and some disruptions. We had a strike in Germany on 22 December… we expect the next one will be in Ireland – or maybe it will be in Portugal – during Easter week,” Reuters reported.
Ryanair struggled to contain a wave of strike action in the run up to Christmas last year, following a mistake with their holiday scheduling for pilots that led to thousands of flights being cancelled at the end of the summer.
This led to the airline beginning the process of recognising trade unions for the first time, which was the goal for Impact, the Irish pilots’ union. Since then Ryanair has also opened negotiations with industrial representatives for cabin crews.
So far one union, the British pilots’ union Balpa, has been recognised. This covers more than 25 per cent of Ryanair’s pilots.
As negotiations with unions continue, Ryanair expects these to falter, break down and lead to another wave of industrial action.
In a statement to Joe.ie, a Ryanair spokesperson said: “This is old news. As we explained in our Q3 results, ‘as we finalise union discussions along similar lines to that agreed in the UK, we expect some localised disruptions and adverse PR so investors should be prepared for same’.”
Ryanair highlighted the potential for strike action in their Q3 FY18 investors’ report, released on 5 February. This states: “After 30 years of successfully dealing directly with our people it became clear in December that a majority of pilots wanted to be represented by unions.
“In keeping with our policy to recognise unions when the majority of our people wanted it, we have met pilot unions in Ireland, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and France to discuss how we can work with them on behalf of our people. We have successfully concluded our first recognition agreement with BALPA in the UK, a market which accounts for over 25 per cent of our pilots.
“When this process has completed, we expect to have similar engagement with cabin crew unions. While union recognition may add some complexity to our business and may cause short-term disruptions and negative PR it will not alter our cost leadership in European aviation, or change our plan to grow to 200m traffic p.a. by March 2024.
“Our outlook for the remainder of FY18 is cautious. As we finalise union discussions along similar lines to that agreed in the UK, we expect some localised disruptions and adverse PR so investors should be prepared for same.
“In certain jurisdictions unions representing competitor airlines will wish to test our commitment to our low cost, high pay/high productivity model to disrupt our operations. We are fully prepared to face down any such disruption if it means defending our cost base or our high productivity model.”