When it rains, it pours for Ryanair.
A day after Balpa members in the UK confirmed dates for strike action, they have been joined by colleagues in Ireland.
Directly-employed Ryanair pilots based in the carrier’s home country and represented by the Fórsa union voted by 94 per cent to back industrial action.
The union, which is required to give at least one week’s strike notice, said it would write to management early next week to outline plans for action unless the airline agreed to union pay proposals by Monday.
The union submitted a pay claim to the company in late March, seeking pay levels and structures that are “in line with sector norms,” the union said.
It argued the airline, which posted profits of €1 billion last year, is in a healthy financial position and can fairly reward its pilots.
Fórsa assistant general secretary Ian McDonnell said industrial action could be avoided if management at the airline engaged professionally and constructively in talks.
“Ryanair’s directly-employed Irish-based pilots are simply seeking pay levels that are common and competitive in the commercial airline sector, from a company that made a more-than-healthy profit of €1 billion last year,” he explained.
“They feel they have been forced into contemplating potentially-disruptive industrial action by a company that seems either unwilling or unable to negotiate in a professional and constructive manner.
“At this stage, only a substantive counter-proposal, which properly addresses all areas of our claim, will be enough to prevent us serving notice of industrial action next week,” he said.
As it did with the Balpa strike, Ryanair sought to undermine the position of the union.
A statement argued the ballot showed less than half of its Irish pilots are members of Fórsa, and less than 60 per cent of these members participated in the ballot.
The carrier added: “Fórsa are still unable to explain what pay increase they are seeking on top of the 20 per cent increase already agreed, at a time when Ryanair pilot resignations have dwindled to zero because Ryanair pilots are better paid than [Boeing] 737 competitors.”
“Ryanair now calls on Fórsa to explain why it is announcing industrial action and customer disruptions while it is still in a mediation process, led by [mediator] Kieran Mulvey, under which they have yet to table any specific pay proposals.
“Fórsa should now continue mediation with Ryanair instead of threatening ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action with the sole intention of creating uncertainty for customers travelling during the late August period.”