Thursday, August 11, 2022

Court blocks airline pilots’ strike


Ireland’s High Court on Wednesday blocked a planned strike by Ryanair pilots in the country due this week that had been triggered by a row over pay.

“The immediate industrial action (due Thursday and Friday) is restrained,” Justice Denis McDonald told the court in Dublin.

A total 180 directly-employed Ryanair pilots — members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) — had intended to match planned action by British pilots, which may yet be blocked also at a separate hearing in London.

The no-frills airline said the High Court’s decision to impose an injunction against the strike in Ireland “will come as a huge relief to thousands of Irish passengers and their families”.

The airline called on IALPA members — working with parent union Forsa — to return to mediation, but reiterated its hardline stance on pay negotiation.

“Small groups of workers, earning six-figure salaries should not be threatening to disrupt the holiday travel plans of Ryanair customers and their families,” the carrier said in a statement.

The Dublin-based airline is also taking the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) to the High Court in London on Wednesday in a last minute bid to cancel that action.

A five-day strike by Ryanair cabin crew in Portugal meanwhile began Wednesday, but disruption was limited after the country’s government ordered workers to deliver at least a minimum service.

Elsewhere, Ryanair cabin crew in Spain have called for ten days of strikes in September.

The Irish court dispute centred on a 2018 agreement between pilots and management.

Ryanair argued that was an “overarching” text which outlined how industrial action should not be taken until a mediation process had been completed.

The carrier also said Forsa had not outlined specific pay demands, had been hasty in their movement to strike and conducted the strike ballot improperly.

Forsa said the 2018 agreement was limited to matters of the time only and Ryanair had been “dismissive and showed no desire to engage in a reasonable manner with the pay proposal”.

Justice McDonald said there was a “gap in the evidence” regarding the strike ballot, in which 61 percent of members voted.

His injunction was made on the condition that all parties returned for a fuller hearing soon.


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