Ryanair has confirmed that it has signed a formal union recognition agreement with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), making it the sole representative body for the carrier’s pilots in the UK.
Ryanair announced in December that it would begin negotiations with BALPA after pilots threatened multiple walk-outs over the Christmas period. Pilots at nine bases had already voted to accept a 20% pay rise. The carrier says the remaining six bases have now voted to accept the same deal and claims it means all of its pilots now earn 20% more than those who fly Boeing 737s with Norwegian and Jet2.
The agreement with BALPA means the airline’s 100 UK-based pilots will have full union representation through the soon-to-be-elected BALPA Ryanair Company Council.
Eddie Wilson, chief people officer at Ryanair, said: “This rapid progress in the UK is in marked contrast to some other EU countries, where we are still waiting for a response to our recognition proposals and where some unions have failed to put these substantial pay increases to our pilots.”
Mr Wilson also said the EU-based pilots’ unions it has approached are “wasting time” in not delivering the 20% pay rise to pilots, making an example of Dublin, where 35% of pilots are yet to accept the increase. He continued: “Ryanair will not allow these unions to delay pay increases to our pilots.”
Brian Strutton, general secretary of BALPA, commented: “Given Ryanair’s previous hostility toward unions, today’s agreement is an historic one. While we were initially sceptical about Ryanair’s sincerity in offering recognition to us and other unions, our conversations and meetings with them have shown that they are genuine in wanting a constructive trade union relationship.
“Our discussions in getting to a recognition agreement have been tough and required compromise on both sides.”
Mr Strutton said BALPA will begin an election process for five Ryanair Company Council members, who will be responsible for representing their fellow pilots in future negotiations on pay, hours, rostering and holidays.