Ryanair announces more deals with unions in Europe

Ryanair announces more deals with unions in Europe

LONDON: Ryanair on Friday (Oct 19) said it has reached agreements with more unions across Europe, as the no-frills Irish airline looks to avoid further strike action threatened by pilots and cabin crew.

But UK pilots union BALPA hit back, saying Ryanair had got ahead of itself, while on Thursday Belgian unions representing cabin crew threatened "several strike days before the end of the year" by Europe-wide employees.

Ryanair's head of human resources Eddie Wilson said in a company statement Friday:

"These signed agreements with our pilot unions in Portugal, the UK, Italy and shortly in Spain, demonstrate the considerable progress we're making in concluding union agreements with our people in our major EU markets."

However BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said the union "has not reached agreement with Ryanair on seniority and base transfers" as Ryanair had claimed.

"We have a joint proposal that will go to consultation with members, until the members vote there is no agreement," he said in a BALPA statement.

"This is standard trade union procedure. What's happened I think is that Ryanair has got itself a little bit over-excited at the thought of a potential agreement.

"They should calm down until we've put the proposal to the members to vote which we will do over the next few weeks," Strutton added.

The latest "agreements" announced by Ryanair are meanwhile only a stepping stone toward the key demand of the airline's staff based outside Ireland that the Dublin-based carrier stops employing them under Irish legislation.

Employees argue that the status quo creates huge insecurity for them, blocking access to state benefits in their own countries.

Ryanair pilots across Europe staged a 24-hour stoppage in September to push their demands for better pay and conditions, plunging tens of thousands of passengers into transport chaos at the peak of the busy summer season.

In July meanwhile, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.

Earlier this month, Ryanair slashed its profits forecast and signalled job losses in the Netherlands and Germany as it reported on the fallout of the pan-European strikes.

An update on its earnings outlook and past performance is due Monday when Ryanair publishes half-year results.

Source: AFP/aa