Ryanair has hit out at the union representing Irish pilots after the airline said it is cancelling up to 30 flights tomorrow because of strike action.
While both the airline and union officials are expected to meet today in an effort to solve the ongoing dispute, both sides have stated they expect tomorrow’s industrial action will go ahead.
The industrial action centres on seniority issues, with the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA), a branch of Fórsa trade union, calling on Ryanair to put in place transparent processes for determining matters such as base transfers, annual leave, and promotions.
Ryanair has again described the strike as “unnecessary” and has criticised the role played by IALPA president Evan Cullen, who is an Aer Lingus pilot, in the ongoing dispute.
It said it sought to offset disruption that would be caused by strike action by cancelling flights on “high- frequency routes” from Ireland to UK destinations where customers can transfer readily to other flights in the coming days.
All of the airline’s Ireland to Europe flights are due to operate as normal.
The airline says all affected passengers should by now have received text and email notification of the cancellations.
Ryanair said its customer service teams are assisting affected passengers with refunds or free transfers to alternative flights for either today, tomorrow, Friday, or Saturday.
“For customers travelling to the UK we will also be assisting them with alternative transport on comparable operators (both flights & ferries) where there is some limited space available,” a Ryanair statement said.
Ryanair also said it was “unacceptable” that Mr Cullen should play a role in the strike given his position within a rival airline.
Mr Cullen had written to Dublin Airport police prior to the result of the pilots’ ballot to inform them of the possibility of a picket at the airport.
“We cannot rule out further disruptions in July and August, especially when some Aer Lingus pilots wrote officially to the DAA on 25 June — some 10 days before the results of the Ryanair pilot ballot were known — to advise that they were ‘contemplating a series of 1 and 2 days strikes in July and August’,” said Ryanair.
“It is unacceptable that competitor airline pilots are actively organising strikes by Ryanair’s pilots when these airlines will be the direct beneficiaries of any such disruption,” said the airline.
The union has previously said the communication was a courtesy it was extending in the event that its members called for a strike.
The Commission for Aviation Regulation has published advice on passengers’ rights on its website, www.flightrights.ie.
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