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29 October 2020, 1030 - 1630 CET
Ryanair pilots based in the UK have voted in favour of strike action in a row over pay and conditions, with two walk-outs announced for August and September.
According to the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), the strike ballot had a 72 per cent turnout, with 80 per cent agreeing to take industrial action.
Pilots are now planning to strike from 0001 on 22 August until 2359 on 23 August, and from 0001 on 2 September until 2359 on 4 September.
BALPA said Ryanair’s refusal to work with unions until 2018 led to “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”.
Pilots have listed a number of issues relating to the dispute, including pensions, loss of license insurance, maternity benefits, allowances and a “fair, transparent and consistent pay structure”.
BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton commented: “We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action. No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans, but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”
The news comes after Ryanair announced it would have to cut up to 900 jobs by summer 2020 following a drop in profits and a delay in deliveries of the troubled Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
Responding to the strike threat, Ryanair claimed BALPA had the support of less than 30 per cent of its UK pilots, as it believes less than half are actually members of the union. The carrier also claimed its UK senior captains earn up to £180,000 a year.
In a statement, the airline said: “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 on 31 October.”
Ryanair said it has asked BALPA back to the negotiating table “to minimise job losses instead of taking ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action”.
The Ryanair strikes come as BALPA continues negotiations with British Airways to avoid a pilot walk-out.