Thursday, 12 October 2017

Pilot openly criticises Ryanair's negotiations

In a surprising and brave move, a serving Ryanair pilot has publically criticised the airlines' management's internal negotiating structures for flyers.

Imelda Comer, a captain for the Irish airline is the first to openly display her unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the airline. She made her criticisms in a hard-hitting but civil and polite letter delivered by hand to the Dublin head office.

The brave open stance of Captain Comer refers to the fear of being among many pilots concerned about victimisation for speaking out in her letter to the CSO Michael O'Leary. Her letter indicates notes that Ryanair has previously either ignored EERC communications or falsely claimed they were not from legitimate representatives.  The letter, she confirmed, was from the EERC group made up exclusively of Ryanair pilots from several countries.

Ryanair has previously threatened or conducted legal action against EERC members as well as demoting or suspending them. Comer also reiterates the demands of pilots, including permanent local contracts negotiated by 1 January 2018, benchmarking of conditions with regional competitor airlines, and the right to have professional assistance in negotiations.

Comer says Ryanair insistence on only negotiating with pilots through individual bases, places all pilots at a significant disadvantage, creating what she calls an "unreasonable imbalance" in any such interactions. However, focusing on each individual base is part of the Ryanair method of divide and conquer to squash all attempts of coordinated action by pilots or cabin crew. It is part of the budget carriers process and rule for paying the absolute minimum for each individual area or region. 

Ms Comer warns this approach may deliver a short-term fix in only a handful of bases, it will not resolve the long-standing issues that have dogged industrial relations are the airline for more than 10 years.  "…the complexity of pilots living, operating and moving around Europe exposes us to legal, financial, income tax and social insurance considerations that we do not have expertise in. For these reasons we have reserved the right to seek any assistance we require to support us in our interactions and negotiations with the company." claims part of the letter.

In the letter the flyer mentions the offers of pay increases the airline made to various bases in the last 48 hours and leaked to the media "... have not been negotiated with anyone; do not reflect any of the concerns or requirements set out by the pilots; are confusing and in some places potentially misleading; and do not cover all pilots in Ryanair."

The Irish airline remains unmoved by the letter and only last night threatened its aircrew's that if they do not accept proposed pay increases - with no negotiation through unions or joint representative bodies - they will not get any increases for up to five years.