RYANAIR BOSS: Michael O’Leary

MORE than half of pilots in Ireland will go on a one-day strike on Wednesday December 20, their union has confirmed today.

A majority of members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association backed industrial action in a secret ballot at the weekend.

Irish-based pilots, most of them captains, will withdraw their labour in an action that Impact claimed would disrupt flights and cost the airline ‘substantial’ amounts of money.

A majority of the association’s 84 members in Ryanair voted for action. The airline employs about 360 pilots in Dublin.

Ryanair pilots are campaigning for a new collective bargaining system to replace the employee representative councils that negotiate for staff at each of the airline’s 80-plus bases across Europe.

Italian pilots are also planning a four-hour stoppage next Friday, December 15.

Meanwhile, the German Pilots Association (Vereinigung Cockpit or VC) said that ‘from today on, strike action within Ryanair can be expected at any time’.

The group pledged that no action would be taken on peak Christmas travel days between December 23 and 26.

“Ryanair can stop the Germany industrial action right now by declaring the willingness to negotiate proper terms and conditions of work and remunerations, a last chance is still being offered,” said VC President Ilja Schulz.

The airline has consistently refused to recognise the new organisation that pilots want to represent them, the European Employee Representative Council.

Ryanair argues that its existing structure fulfills its obligations and has the Supreme Court’s approval.

The Irish carrier maintains that pilots at many of its bases have voted in favour of pay increases that will leave them better off than those flying for rivals such as Norwegian Air.

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