Update: Forsa calls for intervention in Ryanair dispute

Update 9pm: The union representing Ryanair pilots is calling for an intervention in its long-running dispute with the airline.

A row over seniority, base transfers and annual leave saw 100 Irish based pilots walk off the job today.

The action has so far seen 70 flights cancelled - affecting 11,000 passengers.

The union will meet again in the morning and warns it is impossible to rule out more industrial action.

Forsa spokesman is Bernard Harbour:

"We've also, by the way, suggested to the company a number of times that there could be value in getting some third party, independent, assistance to the process," said Forsa spokesman Bernard Harbour:

"We've done that in the past in aviation and in pretty much every sector of the economy.

"It can help in situations where the two sides can't find agreement."

Update 5.15pm: Ryanair pilots could hold more strike action - as the row with the airline continues.

A quarter of the airlines Irish based pilots walked off the job today in a dispute over seniority, base transfers and annual leave.

The action has so far seen 70 flights cancelled - affecting 11,000 passengers.

The airline says it is a charade and warns that if it continues jobs could be affected.

"We've had those nine hours of meetings in the past two weeks, they [the pilots] haven't been discussing the real issues," said Ryanair's Kenny Jacobs.

"They are making speeches about everything they haven't liked about Ryanair for the past 25-years and they are not getting into the detail on the issues that we need to discuss.

"If you look at the proposals we've made they'll actually see 'Okay, these guys are serious and these are real proposals that we've made'.

"And they'll see that the vast majority of things that they are looking for are actually addressed."

The airline has announced that "all 260+ flights to/from Irish airports today are operating normally thanks to the great work of our Irish pilots."

"There has been no customer disruption other than the 16 flights which were cancelled last Wednesday."

Earlier: Third Ryanair strike takes place today

Pilots at Ryanair are to stage a third one-day strike today.

This industrial action centres on a long-running dispute between Ryanair and around 100 Irish based pilots directly employed by the company – over seniority, base transfers and annual leave.

As a result, the airline has cancelled 16 flights – affecting around 2,500 passengers – all of whom have been offered alternative flights or a refund.

Ryanair has apologised to customers affected by today's strike.

Management and the unions have met twice in the last fortnight – however, both sides have failed to reach a deal.

Yesterday Ryanair warned that the strikes could affect jobs and expansion plans in the coming months – something the trade union FORSA has described as ‘irresponsible’.

The union will meet again tomorrow to consider more industrial action.

Forsa says the pilots are continuing to seek a fair and transparent method to govern base transfers.

A disputes committee at the trade union will meet tomorrow to consider further industrial action.

Forsa's Head of Communications Bernard Harbor has criticised Ryanair for not taking up the offer of talks it made last Friday.

"Forsa has been available for talks since Friday evening. We're now four days later and another strike is taking place in the company.

We could have been talking about a solution in that time.

"I think it's obvious to everyone concerned that the two parties are not really getting down to the nuts and bolts in the talks that have taken place.

"That's why Forsa has suggested a number of times that an independent third-party facilitator could help to move us towards some kind of consensus."

However, the airline says it will meet Forsa "any time".

"We’re available to meet with Forsa at any time. We are already meeting Forsa regularly on cabin crew recognition agreement.

"But after three months and two meetings lasting over nine hours Forsa still haven’t responded to our written proposals on seniority, base transfers and annual leave, which address their claimed requirements.

Sadly Forsa prefer to strike first rather than use strikes as a last resort.

"When Ryanair has already agreed pilot recognition deals in bigger markets like Italy and the UK, clearly it’s Forsa and 25% of the Irish pilots that are causing these problems here in Ireland, not Ryanair."

Separately Ryanair has cancelled more than 600 flights across Europe tomorrow and Thursday because of a strike by Cabin crew in Belgium, Portugal and Spain.

Digital Desk

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