Ryanair backs down on pilot union recognition as industrial action looms

Ryanair backs down on pilot union recognition as industrial action looms

Ryanair has backed down in a dispute with pilots and announced that it has sought talks to begin to recognise unions in a series of countries across Europe.

The low-cost carrier has written to the pilot unions in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal inviting each of them to become the representative body for Ryanair pilots in each.

The decision come as Ryanair pilots threaten industrial action over the Irish airline’s refusal to recognise unions.

Ryanair said unions in each country would be invited to talks as long as they establish committees of Ryanair pilots to deal with Ryanair issues, as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines in Ireland or elsewhere.

Ryanair will change its long-standing policy of not recognising unions in order to avoid any threat of disruption to its customers and its flights from pilot unions during Christmas week, the carrier said.

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The carrier called on these pilot unions to call off the threatened industrial action on Wednesday, December 20th.

Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “Christmas flights are very important to our customers and we wish to remove any worry or concern that they may be disrupted by pilot industrial action next week.

“If the best way to achieve this is to talk to our pilots through a recognised union process, then we are prepared to do so, and we have written today to these unions inviting them to talks to recognise them and calling on them to cancel the threatened industrial action planned for Christmas week.”

Recognising unions will be a significant change for Ryanair, he added.

O’Leary concluded: “Putting the needs of our customers first, and avoiding disruption to their Christmas flights, is the reason why we will now deal with our pilots through recognised national union structures and we hope and expect that these structures can and will be agreed with our pilots early in the New Year.”