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Ryanair recognizes BALPA pilots' union

January 30, 2018

Ryanair has officially signed a deal to recognize a British pilots' union, the first recognition of a union in the history of the carrier. But it remains unclear whether more deals with other unions will follow.

Großbritannien Ryanair Fluggäste am Flughafen Stansted in London
Image: Reuters/K. Coombs

Irish budget airline Ryanair on Tuesday announced it would allow Britain's pilots' association to start negotiating on issues such as pay and holidays after the carrier recognized a trade union for the first time in its 32-year history.

Europe's largest low-cost airline was forced last year to put the recognition of unions on the agenda in order to avoid a strike over Christmas after it had to cancel 20,000 flights earlier in the year due to a shortage of standby pilots.

"Given Ryanair's previous hostility toward unions, today's agreement is an historic one," said the general secretary of the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA), Brian Strutton.

More deals to follow?

"While we were initially skeptical about Ryanair's sincerity in offering recognition to us […] our conversations and meetings with them have shown that they are genuine in wanting a constructive trade union relationship," Strutton added.

Ryanair is also negotiating with other European unions who have demanded to meet collectively with the carrier, saying that individual talks were unsatisfactory. The airline has so far refused those demands.

BALPA itself said it would like to see Ryanair agreeing deals with more unions.

"I urge Ryanair to agree deals with pilot unions in other countries and with cabin crew unions," said Strutton.

Budget airlines take off in Europe

hg/jbh (Reuters, AFP)

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