Belfast Telegraph

Flights cancelled during another strike by Ryanair’s Irish-based pilots

Some 2,500 passengers were affected by Tuesday’s action.

Dozens of Ryanair’s Irish-based pilots are staging their third 24-hour strike in an ongoing dispute over working arrangements including annual leave and promotions.

The industrial action has led to the cancellation of 16 flights affecting some 2,500 customers.

The 24-hour stoppage began at 1am on Tuesday as pilots picketed the airline’s headquarters in Swords, Co Dublin.

The budget airline criticised the strikes as unnecessary and warned that if they continue, there could be job losses.

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Ryanair pilots stage a protest (Niall Carson/PA)

Trade union Forsa, which represents the pilots, hit out at the airline company.

A spokesman for the union said: “This kind of threatening statement is not conducive to building trust and reaching a resolution to the dispute, and Forsa doesn’t accept that jobs or expansion in the airline need be put at risk by company management.”

The union said that the pilots continue to seek a “fair and transparent method” to govern base transfers and related matters which they say is common practice in the industry.

The spokesman added: “At present, company management has total discretion on transfers, which can see pilots moved to bases thousands of miles from their homes and families.

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A Ryanair plane comes in to land (Niall Carson/PA)

“Most other airlines have a fair and transparent criteria, based on seniority, to govern pilot relocations.”

Forsa and Ryanair management have met twice in the last two weeks, for some nine hours.

The union said that the discussions found common ground on the possibility of establishing a joint working group to thrash out the disputed issues, however the parties couldn’t agree on terms of reference for such a group.

In a statement, Ryanair said that it is available to meet Forsa “at any time”.

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Ryanair pilots in Swords, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

“After three months and two meetings lasting over nine hours, Forsa still haven’t responded to our written proposals on seniority, base transfers and annual leave, which addresses their claimed requirements.

“Sadly Forsa prefer to strike first rather than use strikes as a last resort.

“When Ryanair has already agreed pilot recognition deals in bigger markets like Italy and the UK, clearly it’s for Forsa and 25% of the Irish pilots that are causing these problems in Ireland, not Ryanair.”

Meanwhile, Ryanair cabin crew in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Italy are going on strike on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to the cancellation of 600 flights over two days and affecting 100,00 passengers.

The airline will have to either refund the passengers or arrange alternative flights.

Unions in the countries say they want Ryanair staff to be employed according to the national legislation of the country they operate in, rather than that of Ireland.

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