Ryanair VS British Airline Pilots Association: Will a Strike Take Place?

Photo: Ryanair

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Following an industrial action ballot the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) announced about two strike dates for UK-based Ryanair pilots. The first two-day strike is set for 22-23 August, while the second three-day strike is planned on 2-4 September.

According to BALPA, strike actions come as a result of Ryanair’s inability to understand how to work with unions and due to the lack of standard agreements. The association revealed that their “claim includes many issues including pensions; loss of license insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure”.

According to BALPA calculations, 80% of UK-based Ryanair pilots voted in favour of strike action on a 72% turnout. Meanwhile, from the Ryanair’s point of view, numbers are a little bit different. Depending on airline’s statement, the strike is supported by less than 30% of Ryanair’s UK pilots (there are over 1,250 of them).

Ryanair expressed its disappointment not only with the fact of an action but also with the time it is scheduled to take place. Apart from the fact that now is the high season for holidays, Ryanair has recently announced about upcoming pilot and cabin crew job cuts amid “the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no deal Brexit on 31 October”.

“We hope BALPA will now work with Ryanair to minimise job losses instead of undertaking ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action”, said the airline.

Also, Ryanair disputes UK-based pilots’ right to take a strike action considering the fact that last year Ryanair and its UK pilots agreed a 20% salary increase. However, BALPA claims that “no offer to BALPA in respect of its pilots” was made and there is no progress with the problem.

“We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action“, said Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary.  “No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”

According to Ryanair:

  • less than 50% of Ryanair’s UK pilots are members of BALPA
  • just 57% of the above-mentioned pilots voted in favour of industrial action
  • it is less than 30% of Ryanair’s UK pilots
  • over 70% of Ryanair’s UK pilots are either not members of BALPA, or did not vote in BALPA’s ballot, or voted against industrial action.