Unions: Ryanair’s base closures are ‘a declaration of war’

Unions: Ryanair’s base closures are ‘a declaration of war’

A pilots’ union has described Ryanair’s decision to close bases and reduce its fleet from early next month as a declaration of war.

At the start of October, the airline announced that it was trimming its winter 2018 capacity, closing its Eindhoven and Bremen bases and cutting its five aircraft at its Niederrhein base to three.

While it said this was “in response to this lower fare, higher oil and higher EU261 cost environment” it also lowered its full year profit guidance saying its Q2 and Q3 traffic and fares “will be somewhat lower than expected largely as a result of two recent five-country strikes, which are being incited by competitor employees”.

In a statement yesterday, the European Cockpit Association said the development would seriously exacerbate the recent deterioration in the relationship between the airline and its pilots and cabin crew which had led to the strikes.

“The aggressive move by Ryanair management comes on top of already tense relations with its employees and stalling negotiations in numerous countries,” it said.

The association’s president Dirk Polloczek said the “hostility” from Ryanair management would not be tolerated. “Pilot associations demand the immediate withdrawal of the base closures in Eindhoven and Bremen and downsizing of the Niederrhein base,” he said.

“We call on Ryanair management and its board of directors to change its confrontational and counterproductive approach. It is hard to see how Ryanair can realistically expect to reach agreements with its unions with such threats hanging in the air.”

Martin Locher, president of German union, Vereinigung Cockpit said forcing pilots and cabin crew to relocate or lose their job and income was not what was needed to build trust.

“If Ryanair is serious about reaching agreements by Christmas, such behaviour is very unhelpful,” he said. “The announced base closure date of November 5 will be a milestone to test management’s real intentions and its willingness to actually do something for its employees, be it in Germany, be it elsewhere.”

Arthur van den Hudding, president of the Dutch pilots’ association VNV said: “Instilling fear among Ryanair workers and to de facto restrict their right to strike will never be tolerated by us.

“We call on Ryanair to maintain their base in the Netherlands, to face their responsibilities, and to come back to the negotiating table, rather than running away and punishing everybody left behind.”

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