30 January, 2018

Ryanair to recognise pilots unions - at last

After years of trying, British pilots working for Ryanair have finally won the right to be represented by a union as the budget carrier has agreed to recognise a union to represent its entire 600 strong UK based compliment of pilots. 

Michael O'Leary, the boss of the Irish airline who famously has contempt for all pilots - seeing them as little more than 'glorified taxi drivers'  had previously refused point blank to recognise the British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa), yet in massive climb down last month the airline was forced to start the process of recognising pilot unions in a bid to avert a series of strikes, not only in the UK but also at its bases throughout Europe. 

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said the agreement was historic "given Ryanair's previous hostility towards unions".

"While we were initially sceptical about Ryanair's sincerity in offering recognition to us and other unions, our conversations and meetings with them have shown that they are genuine in wanting a constructive trade union relationship," he said.

Balpa will now elect five union representatives who will head up all future negotiations between pilots and the company on issues including hours, rostering, holidays and pay.  The about-turn on union recognition follows a particularly turbulent time for the low-fare high-fee airline which saw the airline cancel hundreds of thousands of flights in the wake of pilot shortages over a cock-up with rostas and the airlines' desperate bid to raise its on-time operation limit to ensure continued shareholder investment. 

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