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Andreas Arnold/PA
Industrial Action

High Court to hear Ryanair bid to prevent pilots' strike

Their trade union served notice last week of plans for 48 hours of strike action from midnight on 22 August.

THE HIGH COURT will today hear Ryanair’s application to secure an order preventing the strike planned by some of its Irish-based pilots later this week.

Ryanair DAC is seeking an injunction preventing the trade union Forsa, which is the parent union of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa), from striking for 48 hours commencing on midnight on 22 August in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The action is also against a number of pilots who are members of Ialpa, including that union’s president Evan Cullen. Ialpa represents approximately 180 Dublin-based pilots who are directly employed by the airline, recently balloted its members who voted to go on strike.

If granted, injunctions would remain in place pending the final outcome of the airline’s court action.

The airline, represented by Martin Hayden SC and Eoin O’Shea Bl, is also seeking a declaration from the court that Forsa’s ballot for the proposed strike action and its notice of strike action served on Ryanair was unlawful.

The airline claims that the proposed strike would be in breach of an agreement the parties agreed to following a mediation conducted by retired Workplace Relations Commission chair Kieran Mulvey in 2018.

That agreement, which the airline claims contains an agreed mechanism which it and the union would prosecute their differences, came about following industrial action by Ryanair staff in July and August of last year.

Hayden told the High Court on Friday that the agreement contains clear procedural requirements which must be followed in the event that either side contemplates industrial action.

The agreement requires the mediator to become involved if matters come to a head, and that the parties agreed to be bound to an independent finding by the mediator in the event of there being a deadlock between the parties.

Counsel said it is Ryanair’s case that the union has breached the agreement and it should have seen the process through before threatening industrial action, balloting its members and serving the strike notice.

- With reporting from Aodhan O’Faolain and Ray Managh. 

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