The UK-based pilots of low-cost airline, Ryanair, have voted to strike because of a dispute about pay and conditions.
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has announced two walkouts, one from 22-23 August, with a second strike from 2-4 September. Balpa said 72% of its Ryanair members at the had taken part in the vote with 80% of those supporting strike action. However, Ryanair said that fewer than 50% of its UK pilots were members of Balpa, and of these, just 57% voted in favour of industrial action.
The union said its pilots did not want to disrupt people’s travel plans but felt they had no choice after: “decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions”. Balpa noted that its members have several disagreements with Ryanair, including those over pensions, loss of licence insurance, maternity benefits, allowances and pay structure. The move comes days after Ryanair warned of job losses following a reported 21% fall in quarterly profits which the airline blamed on reduced ticket prices and higher costs for fuel and staff. Ryanair said the strike action is “ill-timed” and would endanger pilot jobs.
Balpa’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, commented: “We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action. No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”