Ryanair is the latest carrier to fall victim to unrest amongst pilots, with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) announcing it will ballot its members on a potential strike over pay and working conditions.
The news adds to the potential for UK travellers to experience disruption as the summer holidays loom, with British Airways pilots currently voting on whether to strike and three London airports facing walkouts starting next week.
BALPA says it will issue a ballot to Ryanair pilots on 24 July, which will close on 7 August. Members claim they still have “many outstanding areas of concern” in relation to pensions, an alleged loss of license insurance, maternity benefits, allowances and a “fair, transparent and consistent pay structure”.
Ryanair’s relationship with its pilots has been strained in recent years. BALPA threatened Christmas strikes in 2017 but called for a pause in industrial action after a breakthrough in talks with the carrier.
The airline’s decision to negotiate with BALPA marked the first time it had ever recognised union representation for any staff, and a deal was agreed in 2018 that saw Ryanair's UK-based pilots receive a 20 per cent pay rise.
However, BALPA says it has not been able to reach an agreement with the company on its concerns despite tabling a pay and conditions claim. It claims Ryanair “has not tabled any offers whatsoever”.
The union’s general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Our Ryanair representatives have been trying to tackle some of the many issues that result from years of non-recognition of unions within Ryanair. But we have not been able to make any progress with Ryanair at all on any of our areas of concern. As usual with Ryanair, it’s their way or the highway, and we are not prepared to put up with that.”
Ryanair has yet to comment on the strike ballot.