The voting is over and the ballots are all in. Yesterday, Ryanair’s union pilots based in Ireland voted to strike. Of the members of IALPA, the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association, who voted, 94% were in favor of industrial action. This is the third labor dispute notice regarding Ryanair pilots arising within the span of a week.
What the union is saying
According to the BBC, IALPA said its decision is an indication of the frustration and disappointment of pilots with a lack of progress in ongoing pay talks. RTÉ reports that, early next week, the union will inform managers of strike plans unless the airline agrees to union pay proposals before Monday.
Fórsa assistant general secretary Ian McDonnell says Ryanair can avoid industrial action if airline management engages professionally and constructively in talks. IALPA is part of the greater Fórsa union. Here’s more of what he had to say:
“Ryanair’s directly-employed Irish-based pilots are simply seeking pay levels that are common and competitive in the commercial airline sector, from a company that made a more-than-healthy profit of €1 billion last year…They feel they have been forced into contemplating potentially disruptive industrial action by a company that seems either unwilling or unable to negotiate in a professional and constructive manner. At this stage, only a substantive counter-proposal, which properly addresses all areas of our claim, will be enough to prevent us serving notice of industrial action next week.”
In response to the vote results, Ryanair expressed disappointment. It said the union was “threatening to disrupt customers’ travel plans during August”.
The airline’s response was similar to its statement after the announcement of a UK pilot’s strike. It claims the strike has the support of a minority of Ryanair pilots. It also accuses the unions of bad timing with the Brexit deadline looming.
“Fórsa are still unable to explain what pay increase they are seeking on top of the 20% increase already agreed…At a time when Ryanair pilots resignations have dwindled to zero because Ryanair pilots are better paid than 737 competitors in Norwegian and Jet2.”
In fact, Ryanair says that fewer than half of its Irish pilots are members of the union with fewer than 60% of members taking part in the vote.
The overall situation as it stands
- There is no confirmation of dates for the possible Irish strike action. There must be seven days notice beforehand.
- On Wednesday, UK-based pilots voted for strike action and have announced two walkouts: one on August 22-23 and another on September 2-4.
- Pilots in Spain will vote on strike action in the coming days.
This is not the first time this has happened. The airline was hit with several strikes last summer as talks over contracts and pay failed to reach an agreement.
Do the possible strikes have an effect on your upcoming travel plans? Let us know by leaving a comment!