Ryanair spurns talks offer
by Bernard Harbor

A third one-day strike by directly-employed Ryanair pilots, members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association, is underway today (Tuesday). No meeting has taken place between Fórsa and company management since last Wednesday (18th July), even though the union told management last week that it was available for talks.

A number of flights between Ireland and the UK have been cancelled because of the strikes, which are placing a huge financial and operational burden on the company as its management tries to minimise the impact on its schedules.

The company cited industrial unrest as one of the factors behind a decision to cut prices this summer, after it reported a 20% drop in profits in the three months to the end of June.

Fórsa criticised airline management’s suggestion that it might also cut back on jobs and expansion plans in Ireland because of industrial action. “This kind of threatening statement is not conducive to building trust and reaching a resolution to the dispute, and Fórsa doesn’t accept that jobs or expansion in the airline need be put at risk by company management,” according to a spokesperson.

The pilots are seeking a fair and transparent method to govern base transfers and related matters. This is common practice in the industry.

At present, company management has total discretion on transfers, which can see pilots moved to bases thousands of miles from their homes and families. Most other airlines have a fair and transparent criteria, based on seniority, to govern pilot relocations.

The union and management have met twice in the last fortnight, for a total of about nine hours. These discussions found some common ground on the possibility of establishing a joint working group to thrash out the issues in dispute. But the parties couldn’t agree on terms of reference for such a group.

Fórsa has also repeatedly suggested that independent third-party facilitation could help the parties to reach consensus, but Ryanair management has so far rejected the suggestion.

Meanwhile, the disputes committee of the union’s Services and Enterprises Division is to meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) to consider further industrial action.

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