Pilot’s open letter to O’Leary

A Dublin-based Ryanair pilot has “reluctantly” stepped forward and written an open letter to Michael O’Leary publicly criticised the stance it has taken on negotiating with the airline pilots collectively.

In the letter, Captain Imelda Comer offered to be a “conduit” between management and “the pilot body”.

She confirmed that a number of correspondences to the company, which she said management had either ignored or claimed were not from legitimate pilots, had come from the new, interim European Employee Representative Council (EERC) made up of Ryanair pilots from several countries.

Capt Comer said this body represented the views of the collective pilot body adding she wanted to restate demands made in the EERC correspondence including: protection from legal action for EERC members who carry out representative work; rostered, paid time off to engage in representative activities; no base changes for representatives unless requested by the pilot.

She said the company’s insistence on dealing with individual bases “may deliver you a short-term fix in a handful of bases, but it will not resolve the deep seated issues that have been imposed on pilots over the last 10 years, and have cumulatively given rise to our most recent difficulties”.

Capt Comer said refusing to engage with pilots as a collective group had “failed the company, as evidenced by the shortage of pilots that has led to the cancellations crisis”.

“It has also failed the pilots, as evidenced by the departure of so many colleagues and the short average length of pilots serving in Ryanair,” she said.

The captain also pointed out that recent offers of earnings increases of up to 22% “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”.

Ryanair said Capt Comer has already resigned from the airline — she acknowledges she is about to leave in a letter to other pilots and said it would not be corresponding with, or replying to, the claims made by EERC “or any other front set up by competitor pilot unions”.

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