Europe: Ministers from five European govts urge Ryanair to apply natl. labour laws to its workers

Ryanair is facing strikes by its pilots across Europe as exploratory talks between unions and the Ireland-based budget airline are reported to have broken down. In December 2017, Ryanair had annouced that it would recognise unions for the first time in the airline's history. Grievances range from pay and rosters to labour conditions including a lack of social security and employment protection.

In October 2018, it was announced that agreements on working conditions had been reached with pilot unions in several European countries. In November 2018, employment ministers from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands urged the firm to resolve ongoing disputes with local employees, warning that it could otherwise face legal trouble.

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1 August 2018

Ryanair pilots across Europe plan co-ordinated strike action

Author: Barry O'Halloran, The Irish Times

Ryanair faces “co-ordinated” pilot strikes in Europe next week to add to further industrial action in Ireland on Friday, the airline has said.

The company’s statement on Wednesday came as it emerged that pilots in Britain, one of its biggest markets, have taken a key step towards industrial action.

Ryanair said it had received notice of strikes on Friday August 10th by pilot unions in Belgium and Sweden.

“We have also been notified of possible strike action by pilot unions in Germany and the Netherlands which will, we believe, be co-ordinated and occur on Friday August 10th,” the airline added.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has served a “failure to agree” notice on the airline, the first of several steps that could end in industrial action... 

Ryanair will meet Balpa on Thursday for talks on a collective labour agreement. The airline confirmed that it has also invited unions in Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden to meet to discuss similar deals.

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31 July 2018

Ryanair's German pilots join Europe-wide strikes over labour rights

Author: BBC

"Ryanair threatened by fresh strikes in Germany", 30 July 2018

Ryanair's German pilots have voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking in a row over pay and conditions.

The Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union said 96% were in favour of striking. It has given Ryanair until 6 August to make an offer to avoid a strike, which must be announced 24 hours in advance.

Ryanair has already cancelled hundreds of flights this month due to pilot strikes in Dublin and cabin crew walkouts in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium...

[The Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union] wants collective bargaining agreements with Ryanair and conditions on a par with similar budget airlines such as TUI.

Ingolf Schumacher, chairman of collective bargaining agreements at Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), accused Ryanair of "playing in the negotiations" which have been going on since January.

Ryanair said it had invited the union to another meeting next week.

"We hope we can make further progress in concluding a collective labour agreement with our pilots in Germany," a spokesperson for the airline said...

Ryanair agreed last year to recognise unions as official representatives for workers, but it has struggled to reach agreements with some of them.The move followed a scheduling crisis last September which led to the cancellation of thousands of flights.

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5 July 2018

Ryanair cabin crew call for 'fair living wage' just weeks after airline signed recognition deal with UK union

Author: Independent

"Ryanair cabin crew call for 'fair living wage' in 34-point list of demands", 5 July 2018

[T]he airline’s cabin crew and ground staff have issued a list of 34 demands...

The “Ryanair Crew Charter”, which emerged from the meeting, contains demands from staff at the airline’s 86 bases in 21 countries...

Most of the document is concerned with cabin crew, and the top demand is: “A fair living wage that reflects the work we do”. Other key concerns are seniority pay, compensation for disrupted schedules, and an end to the extra costs incurred by cabin crew – including food and water on duty, and uniforms.” ...

The document hints at some of Ryanair’s employment practices. Staff say the airline should be working “towards the abolition of agency employment” ...

Last week, the airline signed a recognition deal with Unite covering all UK-based cabin crew it directly employs...

In a statement to The Independent, the airline said: "Ryanair is already engaged in extensive negotiations with national cabin crew unions across Europe during which all of these, and other issues, are being negotiated, and we have already concluded agreements in the UK and Italy.”

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5 April 2018

Portugal: Ryanair cabin crew holds strike over workers rights; govt. promises to investigate

Author: The Irish Times

"Ryanair cancels flights in Portugal after strike", 4 April

Ryanair cabin crew held a third one-day strike in Portugal over worker rights on Wednesday, prompting [...] a government promise to investigate alleged violations.

Europe’s largest low-cost carrier said the majority of Portuguese crews were working normally... “Just eight first wave flights from Portugal were cancelled out of a total of 170 daily flights to/from Portugal...” said a spokesman.

SNPVAC accuses Ryanair of using its Irish jurisdiction to ignore parenthood rights and not allow doctor-approved sick days...

One of the strike’s goals was to involve the government in the dispute.

Ryanair, which was forced to recognise trade unions to avoid mass strikes in December, argues that staff working conditions are comparable to competitors...

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14 March 2018

Ryanair to offer full employment contracts to German pilots

Author: Benjamin Katz, Christopher Jasper and Tom Lavell, Bloomberg

Ryanair Holdings Plc will offer direct employment to some German pilots currently working under contract, as a recruitment specialist ends its services for the discount carrier in the country... 

The switch may help pave the way for a unionization deal between the Dublin-based airline and its German pilots after they staged the first strike in the company’s history on Dec. 22. The four-hour stoppage was called after a breakdown in talks with the Vereinigung Cockpit labor group over the transition to collective bargaining.

Vereinigung Cockpit is aware of the McGinley letter, and the change to direct contracts is a welcome development, though tax implications need to be clarified, the union’s international relations officer James Phillips said...

Germany, where about half of Ryanair’s pilots are outside contractors, has remained a thorn in the carrier’s side after it secured labor accords in markets including the U.K. and Ireland. Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary has been forced to drop a longstanding anti-union stance after staff gained bargaining power following a rostering mixup that led 20,000 flights to be scrapped.


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8 March 2018

Ryanair reaches deal with Italian pilots' union

Author: Marketwatch

Ryanair Holdings PLC RYA has signed a recognition agreement with the Italian Airline Pilots Association, or ANPAC, the low-cost airline said Thursday. ANPAC will now be the sole representative body for Ryanair-employed pilots in Italy, the Irish-headquartered company said. Ryanair will work with ANPAC to conclude an early collective labor agreement for its directly-employed pilots based in Italy, the company said...

The recognition of ANPAC follows a similar agreement with the UK recognition agreement with the British pilots' union in January. The U.K. and Italy are Ryanair's two largest markets. The company said that it is making good progress with unions in other major E.U. countries and hopes to sign more recognition deals with pilots and cabin crew unions over the coming weeks and months.

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1 March 2018

Italy: Ryanair close to signing deal with pilots following talks, says union

Author: John Mulligan, Independent (IE)

Italian unions held their first talks with Ryanair yesterday to thrash out labour agreements for the airline's cabin crew in the country.

Union Anpac also concluded its fourth meeting with Ryanair executives regarding a recognition and collective labour agreement for pilots in Italy. An Anpac spokesman told the Irish Independent that the union hopes to have signed off on a deal for pilots within two weeks.

The spokesman said that the agreement will see harmonised contracts for Ryanair pilots across its Italian bases.

He also said that Anpac would not be predisposed towards entering an arrangement where there would be pan-European negotiations with Ryanair spearheaded by an umbrella group...

However, he said Anpac would be willing to negotiate on wider European level in relation to a small number of issues, such as how pilots are transferred between bases in the event that a base closes, for instance.

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5 February 2018

Ryanair CEO says strikes are likely as talks with other pilot unions break down

Author: Julia Kollewe, The Guardian (UK)

Ryanair has been in talks with pilots since December, when it agreed to recognise trade unions for the first time in its 32-year history to avoid Christmas strikes. Last week the airline agreed that the Balpa union will represent all its British pilots in talks.

But talks with some other unions have broken down and O‘Leary warned investors on Monday that the airline was likely to be targeted by strikes at Easter.

“We have some jurisdictions where we are getting the kind of laughable demands for legacy-type inefficiencies,” O‘Leary said.

“Frankly we will never agree to those ... if we have to take strikes or disruptions in those jurisdictions, then we will take those. But we will not under any circumstance alter or reduce our productivity.” ...

Ryanair has met pilot unions in Ireland, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and France, with other countries to follow, and union recognition will be extended to cabin crew later in the year, O’Leary said.

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30 January 2018

UK: Ryanair reaches deal with pilots' union

Author: Gwyn Topham, The Guardian (UK)

Ryanair has agreed that the Balpa union will now represent all its British pilots in talks, sealing a historic turnaround...

The British Airline Pilots’ Association said it had signed a voluntary trade union recognition agreement that meant its reps will negotiate pay, hours, rostering and holidays for all 600 UK pilots directly employed by Ryanair – a quarter of the total across Europe...

Ryanair had said it was willing to enter into discussions about recognising pilots’ unions in a number of European countries, including the UK...

Balpa has started elections for a council of five Ryanair pilots to represent them in negotiations in airlines. The union said it will also set up an advisory council for hundreds of pilots, mainly co-pilots, hired via third parties or as self-employed contractors for Ryanair.

The Ryanair chief people officer, Eddie Wilson, said: “This agreement validates the decision of Ryanair’s board in December to recognise unions, and the fact that we have delivered pay rises of up to 20% and union recognition for our pilots in our largest market shows how serious Ryanair is about working constructively with unions that are willing to work constructively with us.

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19 December 2017

First pilots, now cabin crew – Ryanair to recognise other unions

Author: Gwyn Topham, The Guardian (UK)

Ryanair has said it will recognise cabin crew unions and hold meetings in the new year, as it prepared to start its first ever talks with pilots’ unions in Dublin on Tuesday.

The Irish airline, Europe’s largest by passenger numbers, announced last week that it would recognise pilots’ unions in a bid to head off strikes planned in the run-up to Christmas...

Ryanair’s announcement that it will also recognise cabin crew unions comes after renewed focus on its treatment of lower-paid staff...

The Impact union, whose members include cabin crew, said it would be delighted to start talks in due course. A spokesman said the prospect of strike action in Ireland, originally called for Wednesday, had not gone away and that the mandate remained should Ryanair not properly meet requests for union representation...

A company spokesman said: “It will lead on in the new year to meetings with other EU pilot unions, and cabin crew unions in due course as well.”

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