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Published on Thursday, August 8, 2019

Summer strike dates announced by Ryanair's UK pilots


Ryanair pilots are to strike for 48 hours, starting on August 22, and again on September 2 until September 4 unless talks between the airline and the union today are successful in resolving their dispute.

The strike dates were announced yesterday evening after BALPA said 80% of those who voted in a ballot were in favour of indutrial action, based on a turnout of 72%.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said the strike was about to a number of issues, including pensions, maternity benefits, and 'a fair, transparent and consistent pay structure'.

The strikes will start at 0.01 on August 22 and end at 23.59 on August 23 and again at 0.01 on September 2 until 23.59 on September 4.

In a statement, BALPA said: "Decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions has resulted in two things. Firstly, a management that apparently doesn't understand how to work with unions, and secondly a company that doesn't have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace.

"That is why our claim includes many issues including pensions; loss of license insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure.

"We have made no progress with Ryanair management on any of those areas at all, seemingly because Ryanair management cannot understand how to go about working with us constructively, or how to negotiate. Ryanair has made no offer to BALPA in respect of its pilots."

The strike will hit families travelling during the last week of the school summer holidays. BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said: "No pilot wants to spoil the public's travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice."

Ryanair claimed BALPA had the support of fewer than 30% of the airline's pilots as only 50% are members of the association and of these, only 57% voted in favour of industrial action.

In a statement, the airline said: "We are disappointed that the pilots union BALPA, is threatening to disrupt our customers travel plans during late August, early September, when it has the support of less than 30% of Ryanair's UK pilots.

"BALPA have no mandate to disrupt our customers holidays and flights, particularly at a time when UK pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no deal Brexit on 31 Oct."

The airline said its UK pilots agreed a 20% salary increase least year, giving senior captains earnings of up to £180,000 a year, which Ryanair claimed is more than pilots flying for Norwegian or Jet2.

BALPA, it said, it recommending a pay freeze for Jet2 pilots in return for improved rosters.
Ryanair added: "We have written to BALPA asking them to return to talks, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any uncertainty that BALPA's ballot may cause them. We hope BALPA will now work with Ryanair to minimise job losses instead of undertaking ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action."

In a video message to staff last month, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary warned 900 jobs - including 500 pilots - were at risk due to a delay in the delivery of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which remain grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes at Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air in Indonesia

BALPA members who fly for British Airways are also threatening to strike over a pay deal. The two parties are locked in talks with the conciliation service ACAS and no strike dates have been set.


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