Ryanair pilots in the United Kingdom have voted overwhelmingly for pay cuts to protect jobs. Just yesterday, the airline’s CEO warned that up to 3,500 jobs across the airline could be cut as a result of the current pandemic. He, himself, has taken a 50% pay cut through March 2021.
Across the industry, airlines are fighting to come to terms with the changing landscape caused by the current pandemic. Even airline heavyweights such as Lufthansa have been forced to take action. While cabin crew positions at the German flag carrier are safeguarded, up to 26,000 full and part-time jobs could be at risk.
Ryanair’s UK pilot vote
Ryanair’s United Kingdom pilots, represented by BALPA, the British Airline Pilot Association, yesterday voted on a four-year agreement designed to safeguard jobs. The airline previously warned that up to 3,500 job cuts were possible.
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In terms of UK pilots, 330 positions were at risk as a result of the airline’s current situation. 70 of these positions were at four bases that could’ve been closed: Leeds Bradford, Prestwick, Bournemouth, and Southend.
96% of those who voted were in favor of the plan to save jobs at Ryanair. The plan equates to a four-year package of measures. The pilots will take a 20% pay cut, which will safeguard the 260 pilots not affected by the proposed base closures. BALPA is continuing to negotiate regarding the remaining 70 employees.
The pay cuts voted for will not be permanent either. In a press release seen by Simple Flying, BALPA stated that every pilot’s pay would be restored to 100% within the next four years.
What does Ryanair say?
Historically, Ryanair hasn’t had the best relationships with Unions. Indeed, according to the Guardian, Ryanair’s UK cabin crew weren’t represented by a union until 2018. However, the airline seems content with yesterday’s vote.
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said,
“We welcome this week’s result that 96% of BALPA members have voted in favour of a 4-year agreement on 20% pay cuts… The strength of this vote demonstrates the commitment from our pilots in the UK to work with Ryanair as we work our way through this crisis over the next number of years”.
What’s happening at Ryanair?
Like most airlines, Ryanair is in a challenging period. The airline yesterday relaunched 1,000 daily flights. However, since late March, it had been operating a skeleton service of just 20 routes, all originating in Dublin or London Stansted.
Before the current crisis, the airline already had a surplus of staff. Ryanair was expecting its first Boeing 737 MAX delivery in April. However, a month prior, the type was grounded following a second fatal crash. Ryanair had been hiring additional staff for an expansion based around the new MAX aircraft. The delayed delivery has left the airline without the planes it needs to expand, though.
What do you think of the deal? Were Ryanair’s UK pilots right to vote for it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!