- Thomson Reuters
- Budget airline Ryanair will recognise pilot unions to avoid a Christmas strike on December 20 which would have grounded some flights.
LONDON – Ryanair will recognise pilot unions for the first time in its 32-year history to avoid a Christmas strike, according to a statement from the budget airline.
Around 100 Dublin-based pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) voted on Tuesday to strike on December 20 as part of a dispute over workers’ rights, including its refusal to recognise trade unions.
Ryanair said it had written to the pilot unions in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal to recognise unions as the representative body for pilots in each of those countries.
The airline on Tuesday had previously insisted that any discussion of pay and working conditions should be discussed through management-controlled “employee representative councils.”
Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said:
“Christmas flights are very important to our customers and we wish to remove any worry or concern that they may be disrupted by pilot industrial action next week.
“If the best way to achieve this is to talk to our pilots through a recognised union process, then we are prepared to do so, and we have written today to these unions inviting them to talks to recognise them and calling on them to cancel the threatened industrial action planned for Christmas week.
“We hope and expect that these structures can and will be agreed with our pilots early in the New Year.”
The strike action threatened to ground hundreds of flights at a time when the airline is battling to regain its reputation following a series of high-profile blunders which has already seen it cancel thousands of flights this year.
A pilot rostering error in September led to the company cancelling thousands of flights, a move which affected over 700,000 bookings.