Ryanair’s U.K. pilots are planning a series of strikes poised to create travel disruptions for end-of-summer travelers in the coming month.
The ongoing battle between the Irish low-cost carrier and pilots’ union Balpa is over a pay dispute and has deteriorated into a pair of scheduled walkouts, according to Sky News.
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The first stoppage will last 48 hours on August 22-23 and the second will take place over three days September 2-4.
“Decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions has resulted in two things. Firstly, management that apparently doesn’t understand how to work with unions, and secondly a company that doesn’t have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace,” Balpa said in a statement. “That is why our claim includes many issues including pensions; loss of license insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure.”
“We have made no progress with Ryanair management on any of those areas at all, seemingly because Ryanair management cannot understand how to go about working with us constructively, or how to negotiate,” the union added. “Ryanair has made no offer to Balpa in respect of its pilots.”
In a statement, Ryanair said that less than 30 percent of its U.K. pilots are both members of Balpa and voted in favor of the strike.
“Balpa has no mandate to disrupt our customers holidays and flights,” the airline added. “Last year, Ryanair’s U.K. pilots agreed a 20 percent salary increase, with senior captain’s earning up to £180,000 p.a. ($218,000), which is more than competitor airline pilots in Norwegian or Jet2.”
Ryanair called the travel disruptions “unnecessary” and said it has asked Balpa to return to the negotiating table. “We apologize sincerely to customers for any uncertainty that Balpa’s ballot may cause them.”
Ryanair has already been hit hard by the Boeing 737 MAX grounding and just one year removed from similar strikes involving pilots and cabin crew.