Ryanair has criticised an Irish pilots union, saying it was “disappointed” that FÓRSA had given notice of industrial action, including a possible strike, and claimed less than 25% of its pilots based in Ireland actually backed a walkout. On Friday, FÓRSA released the results of a strike ballot, with 95% of directly-employed Ryanair pilots in the country backing industrial action.
The union stopped short of announcing strike dates and instead issued an ultimatum to Ryanair demanding the airline meet its demands by Monday 12th August. FÓRSA claims Ryanair has been stalling on pay talks and there’s been no progress on proposals put forward to management back in March.
Ryanair’s take on the whole situation is a lot different and it denies the union has submitted specific demands for at least six months. Going on the offensive, Ryanair says its directly employed pilots have been given a 20% pay rise and collective agreements on promotions, transfers, seniority have already been agreed.
According to Ryanair, its pilots are not only now paid more than their peers at Norwegian and Jet2, and that resignations have “dwindled to zero” – presumably because they’ve never had it so good.
Some 180 pilots were eligible to take part in the Irish vote but this doesn’t include the many agency employed pilots that Ryanair has on its books. Nonetheless, disruption is likely to be extensive if a strike does go ahead – the FÓRSA union must provide seven days notice of a walkout.
In a war of words, Ryanair has taken a similar approach to its UK-based pilots who have backed industrial action in a separate ballot. The BALPA union has already issued strike dates – with the first scheduled to take place for 48-hours between 22nd to 23rd August. A second three-day strike has also been penciled in for 2nd September.
In what has been described as an indirect threat, the airline described the industrial action as “ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action” and said it hoped BALPA would return to the negotiating table in order to work on a way to minimise job losses.