Ryanair Agrees to Recognise Pilot Unions to Avoid Widespread Customer Disruptions Over Christmas Period

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Ryanair today announced that it has written to the pilot unions in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal inviting each of them to talks to recognise these unions as the representative body for pilots in Ryanair in each of these countries, as long as they establish Committees of Ryanair pilots to deal with Ryanair issues, as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines in Ireland or elsewhere.

Ryanair will now change its long-standing policy of not recognizing unions in order to avoid any threat of disruption to its customers and its flights from pilot unions during Christmas week. Ryanair now calls on these pilot unions to call off the threatened industrial action on Wed 20 Dec next so that the airline customers can look forward to traveling home for Christmas without the threat or worry of pilot strikes hanging over them.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“Christmas lights are very important to our customers and we wish to remove any worry or concern that they may be disrupted by pilot industrial action next week.

If the best way to achieve this is to talk to our pilots through a recognized union process, then we are prepared to do so, and we have written today to these unions inviting them to talks to recognize them and calling on them to cancel the threatened industrial action planned for Christmas week.

Recognising unions will be a significant change for Ryanair, but we have delivered radical change before, most recently when we launched Ryanair Labs and our highly successful Always Getting Better customer improvement programme in 2013.

Putting the needs of our customers first, and avoiding disruption to their Christmas flights, is the reason why we will now deal with our pilots through recognized national union structures and we hope and expect that these structures can and will be agreed with our pilots early in the New Year.”

BALPA has today written to Ryanair to accept their offer to discuss recognizing BALPA as the representative union for all their UK-based pilots.

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary said:

“This change of heart and position by Ryanair is welcome. We take Ryanair at their word that they are willing to enter into discussions with a view to recognizing BALPA as more than 20 other UK-based airlines have.

“I have written to Ryanair to accept their offer of talks, and have asked to include the TUC and ACAS (The Advisory, Arbitration and Conciliation Service) in those discussions.

“We look forward to engaging with Ryanair positively towards a quality recognition agreement as soon as possible.”

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC said:

“We are hopeful that this indicates a broader move to Ryanair being a much more union-friendly company. We look forward to working alongside BALPA to achieve that aim.”

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