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Ryanair strikes: Airline begs Irish pilots to call off ‘unnecessary’ strike next week and negotiate

Ryanair is asking Irish trade union Fórsa to cancel or postpone the Irish pilots strike set to go ahead on Thursday 12 July. 

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) said that 99 per cent of over 100 directly-employed pilots who were balloted backed industrial action in the vote on Tuesday.

The strikes – which will start at 1am on Thursday 12 July – come as pilots complain about management’s approach to transferring pilots between its European and African bases.

The issues of seniority and annual leave arrangements are also contentious.

Ryanair has tweeted its request for the strike to be called off.

Ryanair strikes: Airline begs Irish pilots to call off ‘unnecessary’ strike next week and negotiate

“Ryanair again calls on FORSA to call off, or at least postpone, next Thursday’s Irish pilots strike and meet on either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next week to negotiate these issues,” the airline wrote. 

“Given that FORSA and cabin crew met with Ryanair in Airside last Friday (29 June) there’s no good reason why FORSA and pilots won’t meet in Airside to avert this unnecessary strike.”

Cabin crew in Europe revealed yesterday that they will be joining the pilots strike this summer. 

Crew in Italy will go on strike for 24-hours on 25 July, while crew in Spain, Portugal and Belgium will strike for 48 hours on 25-26 July.

Unions have said that further industrial action may be taken if Ryanair do not give way to the requested employment terms. 

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Ryanair strikes: 99 per cent of over 100 directly-employed pilots who were balloted backed strikes

Ryanair crew have presented the airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary with a list of demands.

These include improving economic and safety conditions and rostering and workplace culture, reducing agency employment and giving staff the right to sick pay.

The “Ryanair Crew Charter” also wants Ryanair to get rid of precarious agency employment, give staff the right to sick pay, and end strictly enforced sales targets for products such as scratchcards.

They additionally want their salaries to be paid into bank accounts in their own countries, rather than in the Republic of Ireland.

In December, after intense pressure from workers, Ryanair announced that it would recognise unions. 

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Ryanair strikes: Pilots have complained about management’s approach to transferring pilots

However, according to the the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), little progress has been made over the last six months and there have so far been no concrete improvements in pay or working conditions at the airline.

A Ryanair spokesman told Express.co.uk: “These demands are pointless since Ryanair cabin crew already: earn up to €40,000 p.a., more than double the “living” wage, work a fixed 5-on/3-off roster (a bank holiday weekend every week) and cannot fly (by law) more than 900 hours p.a. (an average of 18 hrs per week).

“They enjoy rosters that exceed all EASA minimum rest requirements, they receive free training, sick pay and an annual uniform allowance (of €400), they are incentivised to sell on board with industry leading sales bonuses (10 per cent) and they receive paid and unpaid leave as they wish.”

Anyone whose flights are affected are entitled to be re-booked on Ryanair or on alternative airlines if no seats are available the same or following day.

Passengers should also be aware that they could be entitled to compensation. Paloma Salmeron, passenger rights specialist at flight compensation company AirHelp, said: “Affected passengers whose flights arrive at the destination with at least three hours delay due to a possible strike may be entitled to compensation of up to €600 per person.”

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