Ryanair pilots want to negotiate through EERC

Updated / Tuesday, 31 Oct 2017 07:45

Annual leave mismanagement and staff shortages at Ryanair have triggered the cancellation of over 20,000 flights

Ryanair pilots based in Ireland have told the airline that they will only negotiate through their new joint European Employee Representative Council (EERC), which the airline has refused to recognise.

The move comes amid continuing unrest among pilots following the annual leave mismanagement and staff shortages, which triggered the cancellation of over 20,000 flights and over 700,000 passenger journeys.

In its half-year results released today, the airline said it does not expect these issues to affect its full-year post-tax profit target.

Up to now, Ryanair has insisted on negotiating only with Employee Representative Councils (ERCs) at its 87 individual bases.

It has refused to negotiate either with external unions or the pilots' new EERC.

However, following a meeting last Thursday, pilots based at Dublin, Cork and Shannon agreed that issues of concern to them needed to be addressed through a collective discussion across bases rather than through individual base ERCs.

In a letter to Chief Executive Michael O'Leary, they stated: "For that reason we have been instructed and mandated by pilots in our three bases to direct all further communication on offers from the company through the pilots' European Employee Representative Council."

The letter stated that the pilot body was currently preparing a "conditions and pay proposal", which will be sent to the company once it is completed.

It concluded by saying that the joint EERC will be the "sole and exclusive body" through which their negotiations on their future conditions and pay should be negotiated.

Ryanair has consistently noted that the current system of negotiating through individual bases was upheld by the Irish Supreme Court in a 2008 ruling.

However, in recent weeks, a number of bases have voted to reject management offers of pay rises of up to €22,000, which were conditional on continuing to negotiate through individual bases.

In a bulletin to pilots last Friday, Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson said that Ryanair had recruited more than 200 new pilots this month, and a total of over 900 since January, in an attempt to address staff shortages that have forced the cancellation of more than 20,000 flights.

He said the first batch of recruits from collapsed airline Monarch would be joining in November, adding that the company had also received a "flood" of applications from Air Berlin, Alitalia, Jet 2, and Norwegian.

Mr Wilson stressed that the new pilots - and any promoted or transferred - would receive the higher pay and conditions recently offered by Ryanair aimed at attracting staff and dissuading current employees from defecting to rival airlines.

However, he said that Ryanair would respect the decision of pilots at Stansted and other bases who had rejected the deal, adding that they would not be receiving the pay rises.

Mr Wilson reiterated that if pilots wished to share in those pay increases from November, they can only do so by getting their local base ERC to engage with management.

He said ERCs were the only collective bargaining structure in Ryanair, and that the company would not be meeting with any other body, including the EERC.