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More flight cancellations could be on the way as nearly half of Ryanair pilots reject bonuses

A number of staff at the airline have rejected a bonus offer from management.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 21.00

NEARLY HALF OF Ryanair pilots have rejected a cash bonus offer for them to work extra days this year and forego their holidays, and have threatened work to rule action.

RTE is reporting that pilots from Ryanair bases in Dublin and Shannon have joined a group representing staff at over 40 of the company’s European bases who told Ryanair management that the majority of workers were not impressed with the offer.

Belgian newspaper La Libre is reporting that this represents nearly half of the company’s 4,200 pilots.

The offer was for a bonus of either £12,000 or €12,000 delayed a year for them to work through the cancellation period.

In a separate draft letter circulating Ryanair bases across Europe (seen by the Guardian), pilots roundly reject Ryanair’s offer and threaten to “work the rule”.

This means they would refuse to work beyond their basic contractual obligations, which could result in more cancellations for the airline.

“We would like to advise that with immediate effect the pilot workforce at the bases [airports] listed below rescind the goodwill that has been extended toward the company for many years,including working days off and turning up early. In short, we shall now ‘work to rule’,” the letter reads.

The bonus offer came following a tumultuous week for the airline, after it announced that it had to cancel 50 flights a day over the next six weeks in order to facilitate staff holidays.

In total, about 400,000 customers will be affected.

Numerous outlets reported that a memo had been sent to pilot staff offering a bonus for them to work extra hours.

Ryanair’s chief operations officer, Michael Hickey, asked pilots to work through their assigned holiday days in order to “avoid further cancellations”.

The bonus would be paid next November providing the pilots were still working at the company and flown more than 800 hours for Ryanair in the year to 31 October 2018.

This is amid reports that a large number of pilots had left the airline to work for competitors, such as Norwegian Air.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary denied that the airline was short on pilots at a press conference on Monday.

Rejection 

According to the letter sent to Ryanair bosses by pilot representatives, staff at the airline rejected the bonus offer and called for better working conditions.

“The pilot market is changing, and Ryanair will need to change the ways which the pilots and management work together to ensure a stable and common future for everyone,” the letter reads.

Representatives state that improved contract conditions are needed to stop a large number of pilots leaving for “greener pastures”.

The pilots also called for professional negotiators to be called in to help broker a deal. This request is likely to be met with resistance from the strongly anti-union Ryanair.

Staff gave airline management until tomorrow to respond.

Passengers were left highly frustrated at the widespread cancellations. Ryanair has offered to compensate those affected.

The airline’s share price dropped following the controversy and shareholders and bosses will meet today for the company’s AGM.

TheJournal.ie has contacted Ryanair for comment.

Read: Flight cancellations: Why is Ryanair switching its calendar year?

Read: Half of people would still book with Ryanair despite cancelled flights

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