Ryanair pilots vote for strike action

Ryanair aeroplanes Image copyright NurPhoto

UK-based Ryanair pilots have voted to strike in a row over pay and conditions.

In July, the budget airline reported a sharp fall in quarterly profits to 21%, due to higher costs for fuel and staff, and reduced ticket prices.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has announced two walkouts.

The first strike will be for 48 hours from 22-23 August, while the second strike will be for 60 hours from 2-4 September.

Balpa said its members have many disagreements with the airline, including over pensions, loss of license insurance, maternity benefits, allowances and pay structure.

The union said it had decided to strike because of “decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions”.

“We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action,” said Balpa’s general secretary Brian Strutton.

“No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”

Video message

On 31 July, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary warned staff in a video message to prepare for job cuts in the coming weeks, saying the airline has 900 too many pilots and cabin crew.

He said the two weakest markets were Germany, where Ryanair faced fierce competition on price, and the UK, where there were Brexit uncertainties.

Image copyright Ryanair

“It’s been a challenging summer, we’re facing into a very difficult winter,” he said in the video, seen by the BBC.

“I’m sorry to advise you that this means we need to cut our aircraft numbers and our staffing, not just for summer 2020 but also in winter 2019.

“This will result in some base cuts, some base closures, and I’m very sorry to say, some job losses this winter for pilots and cabin crew, at the end of our summer schedule in September and October, and also some immediately after Christmas.”

No-deal Brexit

Mr O’Leary blamed planned cuts to flights next summer due to the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max fleet.

The 737 Max is grounded worldwide over concerns with its software following two deadly crashes.

Mr O’Leary said it been a big factor in the cuts, having delayed the delivery of some 28 planes and having forced the airline to cut flights and close bases.

Mr O’Leary also blamed the “increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit in just 12 weeks’ time”.

“We’re worried this could have quite a damaging effect, particularly on our UK bases and on some of our Irish bases, which are heavily dependent on people travelling between Ireland and the UK,” he added.



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