Ryanair passengers will have to wait until tomorrow or Wednesday to find out whether a planned strike by some of the airline's Irish pilots is to go ahead on Thursday and Friday.

It follows the adjourning until the morning of the hearing of an application by Ryanair seeking an injunction against the Fórsa union and a number of named pilots.

Making the application, counsel for Ryanair, Martin Hayden SC, told the court that the core issue is the enforcement of an "overarching agreement" that governs the relationship between the parties before any industrial action takes place.

He said the agreement, put in place following a series of strikes at Ryanair last year, requires any matters of dispute between the two sides to be referred to the independent mediator, Kieran Mulvey.

He said Ryanair had been prepared to leave the matter with Mr Mulvey to make a determination.

The agreement also states that industrial action cannot take place until the mediation process has concluded, he said.

However, he added that the secret ballot on industrial action in this case took place before Fórsa had even walked out of the mediation talks in the middle of last week.

Mr Hayden said that, in an affidavit, the union has argued that the agreement does not apply to the present case.

But he said up to now that was a position that has never been articulated by Fórsa or IALPA.

Mr Hayden also argued that the mediator had asked Fórsa to set out twice precisely what it was seeking in terms of pay increases, but it had failed to do so before balloting for industrial action.


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Continuing his submission to the court this afternoon, Mr Hayden told Mr Justice Denis McDonald that what Ryanair was seeking was that an agreement entered into by the parties is complied with through the following of the agreed process.

He claimed that what happened at a meeting between the union, Ryanair and mediator last Wednesday demonstrated a lack of bona fides by Fórsa.

He said the meeting was attended by Fórsa with no intention other than to collapse the talks process.

He also told the court that even before Fórsa had gone to the meeting they had prepared the strike notice.

Mr Hayden pointed to several examples which, he said, showed Fórsa had considered the pay issue to be part of the process arising from last year's mediation agreement.

It was not Fórsa's call to decide if that process was at an end or not, he claimed.

The court also heard that Fórsa is arguing that the matter constitutes a trade dispute within the meaning of the law, because it claims Ryanair has failed to agree or even engage with pay proposals submitted last March.

It is also arguing that the 2018 agreement between the two sides and the dispute resolution provisions contained within it does not cover pay.

The agreement instead applies to specific issues around seniority and annual leave and is not a full collective agreement, the union claims.

It is also arguing that the pay proposal it submitted in March of this year is a separate issue to those addressed in the 2018 agreement.

Fórsa also argues that the ballot process it carried out, that led to the proposed industrial action, was conducted in accordance with IALPA/Fórsa rules and within the law.

It claims Ryanair's serious allegations to the contrary are a matter of deep regret for the union and says the allegations are outrageous, false and misleading.

The hearing has adjourned until tomorrow morning when the court will hear detailed submissions from Fórsa's legal team.

Mr Justice McDonald said he would either give his ruling immediately following the completion of those submissions, or else on Wednesday.