A ballot for strike action by Ryanair pilots based in Ireland has been extended to allow an additional opportunity for members to cast their votes.

The ballot was due to conclude tomorrow at midday with the result announced shortly afterwards.

However in a memo to members this evening, the pilots union IALPA said that over the course of the weekend, they had received a number of concerns that the five days of balloting did not provide "reasonable opportunity" to ballot on such an important matter as industrial action up to and including strike.

Following a request from IALPA's Ryanair Company Council, the union has extended the ballot to midday on 3 July.

It notes that while an extension of seven days would be the norm in such circumstances, that would result in a clash with the upcoming European Cockpit Association conference in Brussels on 27 and 28 June, when Ryanair will be on the agenda.

The IALPA memo concludes by apologising to Ryanair members for the anxiety the delay may cause them, and appeals for patience and understanding.

Last December, faced with the prospect of strikes in the run-up to Christmas, Ryanair conceded that it would recognise unions at its bases across Europe.

However, some unions have voiced frustration with the slow pace of negotiations.

The Irish-based pilots are demanding clear and transparent procedures and for promotions and transfers between bases, as well as an acceptable appeals process.

They also want a transparent mechanism for allocating annual leave having regard for both seniority and the varying family circumstances of pilots.

Separately, Ryanair pilots based in Spain have filed a lawsuit in Madrid seeking to establish that their employment contracts should be covered by Spanish law.

Ryanair has always insisted that although it has pilots and cabin crew based in 86 bases throughout Europe, the contracts are governed by Irish law.

However, pilots in a number of jurisdictions have objected to this, and have sought to have the local law apply.

A comment from Ryanair is awaited.