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Ryanair is seeking to stop its British pilots from going on strike later this week by requesting a High Court injunction, according to their union, which says the move makes the walk-out more certain.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) claimed Ryanair’s bid “has wasted time with unnecessary court action” and has lost its chance to resolve the dispute over pay and conditions.
Pilots in the UK are planning to walk out from 0001 on 22 August until 2359 on 23 August and again from 0001 on 2 September until 2359 on 4 September.
The airline's Irish pilots are also going on strike on 22 and 23 August.
BALPA said it invited Ryanair to return to the negotiating table this week “but the airline refused”.
General secretary Brian Strutton said: “Ryanair pilots in the UK have a serious dispute with their company which will not be resolved by raising legal technicalities in the High Court. Their attempt to block lawful strike action is just another demonstration of the bullying tactics the airline appears to favour. It means all the time that could have been used to try to find a resolution will now be spent preparing for the court action.
“It’s also worrying to see Ryanair continue to sell tickets for strike days – are they prepared to offer compensation to passengers if they are affected? I think they should tell passengers exactly where they stand.”
Ryanair has a history of claiming it does not have to pay out compensation to passengers whose flights are delayed or cancelled as a result of a strike despite the UK Civil Aviation Authority taking enforcement action against the airline for doing so.
Under EU261 rules, airlines must compensate customers if delays or cancellations are caused by factors out of their control, otherwise known as “extraordinary circumstances”, including weather conditions, security risks and acts of terrorism. Strikes are only considered an extraordinary circumstance if they are unrelated to the carrier, such as walk-outs by airport staff, baggage handlers, or air traffic controllers.
So far, Ryanair is telling passengers on Twitter that unless they have received an email or text message alerting them to changes to their flight, their service is scheduled to operate as normal.