UK-based pilots for budget airline Ryanair have voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay and conditions. The BALPA pilots union, which is also threatening strike action at British Airways, has announced two sets of strikes – one in August and the second in September.
80% of pilots overwhelmingly backed strike action following a two week vote. Over two thirds of Ryanair pilots based in the UK took part in the vote.
The first 48-hour walkout is set to begin at one minute past midnight on the 22nd August and is due to finish at 2359hrs on 23rd August. The second walkout will take place between 2nd, 3rd and 4th September.
The union says the dispute covers a whole raft of issues including pensions, maternity benefits, allowances and a “fair, transparent and consistent pay structure”.
“We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action,” commented Brian Strutton, general secretary of BALPA.
“No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice,” he continued.
Also voting for possible industrial action are Ryanair’s pilots in Ireland. The vote is set to close on Friday 9th August and the results are expected to be released soon after.
In the last week, Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary warned up to 900 pilots and cabin crew could face being axed – many in the UK and Ireland.
O’Leary said Ryanair was operating with a surplus of crew but unions claimed the move was a blatant attempt at union busting in the face of possible strike action.
Ryanair hasn’t yet publicly reacted to the news, however, despite warning its growth targets could be hit going into 2020, the airline announced a 9% growth in passenger numbers for the month of July.