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Ryanair says it will meet union next week 'once no further strikes called'

Ryanair and Fórsa have failed to reach an agreement on their disputes to date.

Image: Sasko Lazarov via RollingNews.ie

RYANAIR HAS CALLED for the pilots’ union Fórsa to meet for talks next Tuesday at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1.

In a letter to Fórsa, the airline asked Fórsa to confirm what day and time it wishes to meet and that it suggests Tuesday “as long as no further strike is called prior to meeting (to allow this meeting to occur)”.

Ryanair noted that tomorrow’s pilot strike action still stands and that it has already cancelled 20 of its flights to and from Ireland, affecting 3,500 customers.

The airline has previously said that all 3,500 customers affected by the cancellations have already been notified by email or text message.

In the letter, Ryanair said that it is “irresponsible” of Fórsa to call a fourth day of strike by 25% of the airline’s Irish pilots because they are “not happy with the wording of Ryanair’s agreement to set up an appeal system”.

Ryanair and Fórsa have failed to reach an agreement on their disputes to date.

Fórsa has yet to respond to Ryanair’s proposal of a meeting on Tuesday.

RTÉ has reported that Fórsa told Ryanair that tomorrow’s strike action will proceed and if the dispute is not resolved that further strike action will be announced “in due course”.

Fórsa national secretary Angela Kirk said that it is prepared to meet Ryanair management but at a neutral venue.

Kirk also told Ryanair that the decision to serve notice of collective redundancy and other measures including involuntary transfer to Poland only serves to escalate dispute and take the two sides further from reaching an agreed solution.

Furthermore, Kirk rejected Ryanair’s claim that it agreed nine out of 11 pilot demands in relation to seniority agreement on transfers, leave and promotion.

European strikes

Meanwhile, industrial action is also planned by Ryanair pilots in Belgium and Sweden on 10 August.

The Swedish pilots union Svensk Pilotforening (SPF) said Ryanair ”had consistently refused to meet with and negotiate with representatives of SPF”, accusing the airline of wanting to pick its own negotiating team from the union.

The SPF said around 40 pilots at Skavsta airport, 100 kilometres southwest of Stockholm, would go on strike.

Furthermore, Dutch and German pilots have also voted by overwhelming margins to strike unless they reach a deal with management.

“Ryanair needs a wake-up call and a strike in the Netherlands might be the only solution,” the Dutch Airline Pilots Association said in a statement.

The union said that Dutch law should be applied to Ryanair contracts and there should be “no more bogus self-employment and a sufficient sick pay and pension”.

Germany’s Cockpit union gave Ryanair until 6 August to submit a proposal for negotiation, noting that talks last Friday had broken down with no agreement.

Ryanair said it remained open to further talks with pilot representatives to discuss union recognition and collective labour agreements.

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“In the interim, we have requested these pilot unions to give us seven days’ notice of any planned strike action so that we can minimise the disruption to our customers by cancelling flights in advance and offering them alternative flights or refunds,” a company statement said.

Ongoing issues

Ryanair, which flies in 37 countries and carried 130 million passengers last year, averted widespread strikes before Christmas 2017 by agreeing to recognise trade unions for the first time in its 32-year history.

But in the months since it has struggled to reach agreement on terms with several of them.

The airline was hit by a round of strikes last week affecting 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

It said the 100,000 affected passengers had all been put on alternative flights or would receive refunds.

Following last week’s strikes, the airline threatened to cut more than 300 jobs in Ireland, blaming a downturn in bookings caused by the industrial action.

Unions want the airline to give contractors the same work conditions as staff employees.

They are also seeking that Ryanair staff be employed according to the national legislation of the country they work in, rather than that of Ireland as is currently the case, which blocks the workers’ access to state benefits.

Ryanair argues that since its planes fly under the Irish flag and most of its employees work on board planes, its staff are covered by Irish law.

With reporting by - © AFP 2018

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