Unions willing to open talks after Ryanair boss makes U-turn

Unions willing to open talks after Ryanair boss makes U-turn

In its statement this afternoon, the airline said: "Ryanair has again called on IMPACT/ IALPA to cancel the threatened industrial action on Wednesday Dec 20 (as the Italian and German unions have already done) which is causing unnecessary concern and worry for thousands of Ryanair customers travelling home during Christmas week".

The dispute centres around employe conditions, with pilots asking that they be allowed to negotiate using unions, and Ryanair refusing to recognise unions.

With the threat of pilot strikes looming across Europe, the Irish low-priced carrier has bowed to employee pressure and says it will now accept unions for the first time. In particular pilots and ground crew in Italy were due to take action with their short strike later on Friday, to be followed by a 24-hour walkout by pilots in Ireland and Portugal five days before Christmas.

The move, which was initiated to avoid strike action at multiple European bases in the run-up to Christmas, sent shares tumbling by 9 per cent to €14.90 yesterday. Ryanair warned it will not deal with pilots flying for other airlines.

Ryanair has stated that they will only be able to meet on the 20th, the same day as the planned strike and have remained firm, saying that they cannot meet before the 20th.

A one-day strike had been planned for Wednesday December 20 and would have mostly involved captains operating out of Irish bases but doubtless have a severe knock-on effect.

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"The Portuguese pilot union has requested a meeting next week and Ryanair has offered to meet them on Thursday, December 21st".

It comes despite a personal reassurance from chief executive Michael O'Leary that the offer of recognition is genuine. "We hope and expect that these structures can and will be agreed with our pilots early in the new year". A spokesman for Ryanair said on Saturday morning there was no update on this position.

It says: "The union is now considering the contents of that correspondence and will respond to management".

However, the airline had said that management would not be able to meet with IMPACT representatives until Wednesday.

Despite such difficulties, the airline thinks costs would increase as a result of unionization and last month said it still expected to deliver annual profit after tax of €1.4-1.45 billion ($1.65-1.71 billion).

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