Ryanair pilots vote for strike action in row over pay

Pilots at Ryanair are to stage a series of strikes after voting in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association voted by four to one to back a campaign of action on a 72% turnout.

Strikes will be held from 00.01am on August 22 until 11.59pm on August 23 and from 00.01am on September 2 until 11.59pm on September 4.

A union statement 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.’

A Ryanair spokesman said the airline was ‘disappointed that 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.

‘The independent result of Balpa’s ballot shows that less than 50% of Ryanair’s UK pilots are members of Balpa and of these, just 57% voted in favour of industrial action.

‘This is less than 30% of Ryanair’s UK pilots. It is notable that over 70% of Ryanair’s UK pilots are either not members of Balpa or did not vote in Balpa’s ballot, or voted against industrial action.

‘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.

‘Last year, Ryanair’s UK pilots agreed a 20% salary increase, with Senior Captains earning up to £180,000 pa, which is more than competitor airline pilots in Norwegian or Jet2.

‘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.’

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