Ryanair pilots urged to support unofficial union

Ryanair pilots have been encouraged to invoke Winston Churchill in an attempt to deal with their management collectively.

The low-cost airline does not recognise unions and instead deal with staff issues through their own Employee Representative Councils (ERCs).

Yesterday, a letter was circulated among Ryanair pilots stating that one centralised committee was being formed.

The letter said the single committee was being established to “oppose the long-standing strategy of divide and conquer that Ryanair has applied in its dealing with pilots”.

It also stated the pilots would need to employ “immense will” in order to overcome the alleged tactic.

“To overthrow this structure will require immense force of will, stamina and commitment from every pilot,” the letter read.

“It is entirely possible that things will get worse before they get any better. Expect management to fight any change by all means available to them. There will be casualties,” it continued.

The letter, which was reported by British media, ended with a reference to Winston Churchill.

“To paraphrase Churchill: Let us make sure future colleagues look back and say: ‘This was their finest hour’,” it read.

The letter emerged on the same day as Monarch Airlines and Monarch Travel Group were placed into administration, leaving 110,000 holidaymakers stranded overseas and resulting in the cancellation of 300,000 future bookings.

Monarch, which is one of Britain’s largest ever airlines to enter into administration, has approximately 200 pilots which Michael O’Leary was reportedly trying to poach in order to reduce the number of flight cancellations at Ryanair.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) stated Monarch had no flights scheduled to depart from Irish airports.

KPMG was appointed as the administrators for Monarch Airlines and several factors were listed as the reason behind the action.

“Mounting cost pressures and increasingly competitive market conditions in the European short-haul market have contributed to the Monarch Group experiencing a sustained period of trading losses,” said KPMG’s Blair Nimmo.

Meanwhile, Ryanair CEO Mr O’Leary had been invited to appear before the Oireachtas committee on transport to discuss the airline’s recent flight cancellations.

However, he said yesterday that he will not be able to attend the meeting, scheduled for tomorrow.

On Thursday, High Court judge Mr Justice Charles Meenan will give his decision on whether Ryanair is entitled to certain documents for its legal action against Channel 4 and a production company behind an allegedly defamatory TV programme.

The Dispatches ‘Secrets from the Cockpit’ programme, broadcast in August 2013, dealt with Ryanair’s fuel policy, passenger safety, and pilot working conditions.

Ryanair says it was defamatory because it wrongly meant the airline endangered passenger safety. The claims are denied.


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