Ryanair’s Irish Pilots Accept New Labor Agreement

 - September 5, 2018, 1:42 PM

The Ireland-based pilots of Ryanair will be able to bid for vacancies for promotion, base transfer, and leave in accordance with a new seniority agreement as members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) voted unanimously to accept a tentative collective labor deal brokered last month between union representatives and Ryanair during mediated talks. 

IALPA consulted members, who staged five 24-hour strikes in recent months, on the tentative agreement in a secret ballot.

“The importance is pilot choice. One pilot may choose to prioritize a base transfer over promotion, while another may opt to accept promotion in a less desirable base to achieve career progression. Pilots can now exercise control over their careers rather than management exercising sole control with no regard for the needs of the pilot or their families,” IALPA—part of trade union Fórsa—said on Wednesday.

Spokesman John May said IALPA members fully respect Ryanair’s operational model but no longer accept the company’s “highly problematic” employment model. “When pilots are treated fairly and transparently by an airline, they will be motivated to contribute to their airline’s success, stay at the company, and make their career with that airline,” he noted.

The result of the ballot lifts the threat of further strikes at the low-cost carrier’s Irish operations, though Ryanair still needs to conclude collective labor agreements (CLAs) with its pilots in other countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. It has reached an agreement with Italy-based pilots.

Ryanair said it will now bring the IALPA agreement to its board and “ask them to reconsider their decision to rebase six aircraft away from Dublin this winter.” The LCC added that it expects that the board will meet to discuss the development “in the coming days.”

Separately, KLM has avoided industrial action by its pilots after the airline and the Dutch Airline Pilots Association, the VNV, on Tuesday reached agreement on a collective labor agreement with the assistance of a mediator. The CLA retains the terms on pay set down in the agreement in principle reached in May but it adds more measures to better balance pilots’ work and private life. Pilots had rejected the earlier tentative agreement because it did not sufficiently address their concerns on work pressure and the timing proposed by KLM to hire new pilots. 

KLM said the revised CLA brings forward the introduction of measures to reduce work pressure as well as the “introduction of increased flexibility that KLM needs.”

The VNV members council must still approve the agreement in principle, but the body said it would halt preparations for work interruptions or other related actions in the meantime.