Ryanair will cancel up to 30 flights to and from Ireland on Thursday due to an industrial dispute and says it cannot guarantee there will not be further cancellations.
The FORSA union representing the pilots via the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association had agreed to talks with the airline Wednesday but Ryanair said it believed the strike would still proceed.
A ballot IALPA of directly employed pilots resulted in overwhelming support for industrial action but Ryanair says those involved make up only 27 percent of its Irish workforce.
The union said earlier this week it was committed to working towards a resolution to the dispute but it expected the strike to go ahead.
Ryanair claimed its pilots had already been awarded a 20 percent pay increase and enjoyed other benefits such as rapid promotion and “unmatched job security”.
“In a final effort to avert this strike, we have agreed to meet our pilots and FORSA at a neutral venue kindly provided by Dublin Airport, but we believe this small group of pilots and FORSA are determined to disrupt the travel of Irish customers on July 12,” it said on its website.
The carrier went further by accusing Aer Lingus pilots of ‘actively organizing” strikes by the budget carrier’s pilots and referred to a similar situation in Germany.
“In December 2017, we agreed to recognize unions for our pilots and cabin crew, and we have already signed recognition agreements with UK and Italian pilot and cabin crew unions, which shows how serious we are about dealing with unions,’’ it said.
“We have not made similar progress in Ireland (or Germany), where we see competitor airline pilots actively interfering by promoting strikes and flight disruptions during the peak period of July and August.“
The pilots’ union is seeking a seniority agreement to give directly employed Ryanair pilots “ a fair and transparent mechanism to understand how and why they are in the base they are in, the order in which their turn may come up for a transfer, how and why they received a particular annual leave allocation or any other decisions that should take due account of their length of service and seniority in the company”.
It also says the company has not confirmed the 20 percent pay increase.
The strike comes as Ryanair’s cabin crew issued a charter that included demands for a fair living wage, stable rosters and an end to requirements they pay costs for items such as water on flights.
The charter stemmed from a summit organized by the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the European Transport Workers’ Federation representing about 80 percent of Ryanair’s cabin crew workforce.
Cabin crew told the media they were forced to travel to Ireland to open bank accounts to receive their pay and were forced to report to work in person when sick to provide written details of symptoms.