Ryanair has just announced its first success in striking a deal with a cabin crew union for the first time in its history. The Dublin-based low-cost airline first announced its intention to recognise unions in December 2017 but had initially focused on doing deals with pilot unions.
The cabin crew recognition agreement has been signed between Ryanair and the Italian ANPAC and ANPAV unions. The agreement will mean the two unions can negotiate on behalf of Ryanair cabin crew based in Italy for collective bargaining purposes – such as improved pay and conditions.
However, the agreement will only affect cabin crew who are directly employed by Ryanair – new joiners to the airline are employed by one of two third-party Irish agencies and these cabin crew won’t enjoy any additional rights. Ryanair generally takes cabin crew on direct after they’ve been flying for the airline for around 12-months.
Nonetheless, Ryanair says the agreement will account for around 20% of the airline’s total cabin crew community across Europe. The airline says it is “looking forward” to working with ANPAC and ANPAV to sign in a collective labour agreement at the earliest opportunity.
“We are pleased to announce this recognition agreement with ANPAC and ANPAV on behalf of our directly employed cabin crew in Italy,” commented Ryanair’s head of HR, Eddie Wilson.
“This is our first cabin crew union recognition agreement (which follows recognition agreements with pilot unions in the UK and Italy earlier this year) and further demonstrates Ryanair’s progress on recognising and negotiating with unions across Europe for our people.”
Wilson said the airline was making “good progress” negotiating with other cabin unions and hoped to be in a position to make further announcements in the coming weeks.
There hasn’t yet been any official comment from either the ANPAC and ANPAV unions but the European Cabin Crew Association which is an umbrella organisation of cabin crew trade groups on the continent said it was a “good day for cabin crew all over Europe” in a post on their official Facebook page.
The post continued: “More steps now to follow, e.g. similar letters with SNPVAC, UFO, R.A.C.U. and other member unions. Establishing respectful labour relations with representative unions and labour councils.”
There had been talk of Ryanair facing coordinated strike action across Europe if it didn’t press ahead with radical changes to the way it dealt with cabin crew unions. A Spanish labour official said walkouts could take place by the end of June and one Portuguese union has already held a strike earlier this year.
Union officials are set to meet later in June to discuss the next plan of action.