Ryanair pilots won’t ballot on ‘strings-attached’ package

Fórsa trade union said today (Friday) that it had decided against balloting Ryanair pilots on a company-imposed pay package after its members in the airline unanimously said it would be unacceptable to put the proposal to a vote in its present form. The pilots were consulted in a series of general meetings.

The union has since written to the airline to say that its pilots have rejected management calls for a ballot because:

  • The package was not negotiated with Fórsa, as is normal when a union is recognised for collective bargaining. Instead it is a non-negotiated management package that predates the company’s announcement that it would deal with the union.
  • In its present form, the management package explicitly freezes any further pay discussions with the union, which undermines the company’s offer to recognise Fórsa for collective bargaining in the airline. Management’s view that acceptance of the package rules out future pay negotiations was underlined in subsequent correspondence.
  • The package, and subsequent management correspondence, confirms management’s intention to retain the company-controlled ‘ERC’ system of pilot representation, which is incompatible with trade union recognition.

In a letter to Ryanair of 31st January 2018, Fórsa said it would reconsider putting a package to ballot if it received written assurances that Fórsa was the “sole and exclusive representative body for collective bargaining purposes including pay, terms and conditions” for Ryanair pilots employed in Ireland, and that acceptance of the package would not preclude:

  • Negotiations with Fórsa on the pay and conditions of its members.
  • Backdating of pay awards following the outcome of pay negotiations.
  • Any third-party pay recommendation being implemented.

The union also suggested three possible dates for a meeting with management. Fórsa says it wants to quickly conclude a formal recognition agreement before opening talks with the airline on pay and working conditions.