Ryanair faces first-ever pilot strike

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Walkout threatened in the run-up to Christmas

Ryanair is dismissing the likelihood of disruption in the run-up to Christmas, despite pilots in Italy voting to strike and staff in both Ireland and Portugal also considering action. If carried out, the walkouts will be the budget carrier’s first-ever pilots’ strike.

Pilots in Italy say they will strike for four hours on December 15, from 14:00 to 18:00, while Portuguese pilots have also voted in favour of a strike and staff in Dublin are voting on whether to join them.

But Ryanair is dismissing the possibility, saying that strikes threatened in the past eventually failed to happen. It is warning the pilots in the three countries that their pay and conditions may be affected if they go ahead.

The airline’s relationship with its pilots has become strained since the rostering scandal, which led to 20,000 flight cancellations.

“The pilot issues which gave rise to the flight cancellations earlier this year have not been adequately addressed. Ryanair pilots, who are members of IALPA, are currently considering their options,” said Captain Evan Cullen, president of the Irish union IALPA.

Ryanair doesn’t recognise unions
In Italy, the pilots’ union Anpac says it represents 280 of Ryanair’s 4,000 pilots. But Ryanair does not recognise trade unions and argues that Anpac has “no role” in the company.

“We regularly receive threats of industrial action from competitor airline pilot unions from Italy, Portugal and even Aer Lingus pilots occasionally. Both we and our pilots ignore these letters,” Ryanair said.

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