The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has confirmed two dates for strike action by UK-based pilots of the budget carrier Ryanair in their latest fight over pay and conditions.
The first walk-out by the flight deck crew has been scheduled for 48 hours from 22nd at 0001 to 2359 on 23rd August, whilst the second strike will be a much long 60-hour walk-out between 0001 on 2nd and 2359 on 4th September.
The union claims that decades of the low-cost high-fee Ryanair refusing to deal with unions has resulted in two things. Firstly, 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.
That is why our claim includes many issues including pensions; loss of license insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure. Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said “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.”
Ryanair issued a statement stating it was "disappointed" that its pilots are threatening strike action that will disrupt customers travel plans when the union has the support of less than 30% of Ryanair’s UK pilots.
However, verified figures indicate the strike ballot saw 80% vote in favour of strike action on a 72% turnout. Despite that, Ryanair still disputes the right the pilots have for calling strike action.
Last year, Ryanair’s UK pilots agreed a 20% salary increase, with Senior Captain’s earning up to £180,000 p.a., which is more than competitor airline pilots in Norwegian or Jet2, but lower than easyJet, British Airways and a raft of many other European airlines.
"We hope BALPA will now work with Ryanair to minimise job losses instead of undertaking ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action," Ryanair said in a statement.