Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair says Irish union dragging heels on pilots' deal

By John Mulligan

Ryanair has warned pilots that any collective labour agreements with unions "must meet our proven business model of low fares, high aircraft utilisation and maintaining existing pilot productivity".

In a recent update circulated to its pilots around Europe, Ryanair's chief people officer, Eddie Wilson, outlined progress being made across the continent in relation to securing collective labour agreements.

"While some countries have moved quickly, signed recognition agreements and got on with the business of negotiating for pilots, other unions have been much slower to accept meeting invitations or to respond to our proposals," Mr Wilson told pilots in the memo.

He singled out Ireland as a sticking point, saying that "very little progress" has been made in talks with unions here since initial contact took place last December. The talks are being led by Irish trade union Forsa.

"After two meetings in December and January, we have made very little progress," Mr Wilson claimed. "Forsa have taken over one month to reply to our letter and seem unwilling to recognise Ryanair's low fares, high productivity model or provide assurances that there will be no involvement of competitor airline pilots in our negotiations," he claimed.

Forsa has previously criticised the approach to talks of Ryanair, being led by Michael Ryan.

In February, the union claimed that Ryanair was attempting to retain its existing employee representative committee (ERC) structure for interacting with pilots, in a move that is "incompatible with trade union recognition", it insisted. Mr Wilson said that Ryanair wrote to Forsa 10 days ago, "confirming that we will recognise them and negotiate a collective agreement, but they must first accept Ryanair's high productivity model and agree to negotiate for Ryanair pilots without the involvement of competitor airline pilots". Mr Wilson said in his latest memo that Ryanair is "hopeful of an early conclusion" on recognising trade union Sepla in Spain; insiders said talks there have not progressed well.

Also in February, Mr Wilson told Forsa that the airline would continue to refuse to accept a letter from Forsa which also bears the name of union Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA).

Belfast Telegraph

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