Ryanair to cancel flights as pilots strike for third time

Ryanair will today announce details of a further 16 flights which are to be cancelled next Tuesday due to a third 24-hour strike by a number of its pilots here.

The airline had given Fórsa trade union, of which the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association is a part, until 7pm last night to confirm that it would be calling off next Tuesday’s strike by directly employed pilots — who the airline claims make up just 25% of its Irish pilots.

With that confirmation failing to materialise, the cancellations announcement will go ahead today at the same time that the second day of strikes by the directly employed pilots goes ahead.

The disruption today in the country’s airports as a result of the strike will be at a minimum, as Ryanair had already cancelled 24 flights between Britain and Ireland and the airline insisted that the bulk of affected passengers had already either been refunded or rerouted.

Pilot representatives and airline management met on Wednesday to see if any agreement could be reached on areas in dispute.

The airline said it has made proposals on seniority, base transfers, annual leave, and promotions.

In a letter published on Twitter yesterday, the airline’s chief people officer, Edward Wilson, told Fórsa national secretary Angela Kirk that the union had committed to coming back to Ryanair as to how the matter could be resolved.

“It is unacceptable that, 24 hours later, we have had no response from Fórsa and find ourselves with a threatened third day of strike action next Tuesday,” he wrote. “Fórsa’s lack of urgency is unacceptable when your committee are unable to engage or negotiate.”

In relation to the 16 flights to be cancelled, he added that the airline “can readily re-accommodate this small number of customers on other flights”.

Fórsa said that while the number of flights being cancelled is reducing, there is no question that the action is coming at a cost to the airline and the strikes would certainly seem to be working.

The pilots at the heart of the dispute will picket outside Dublin Airport this morning.

Industrial action in general will certainly come at a cost to Ryanair next week, as the pilots’ strike here on Tuesday is followed by two days of strikes by cabin crew in a number of leading tourist destinations in Europe on Wednesday and Thursday.

The action has, according to the airline, led to the cancellation of up to 200 flights to/from Spain (24%), up to 50 flights to/from Portugal, up to 50 flights to/from Belgium, and up to 300 other flights all over Europe.

Up to 50,000 passengers will be impacted each day, many of who have already been contacted by email or text to be told their travel plans are to be affected.

On July 4, cabin crews from across Europe published a list of 34 demands, including “a fair living wage”, improved sick pay, and employment contracts in their own language, based on local rather than Irish laws.



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