Ryanair pi­lot chal­lenges O’Leary in pub­lic let­ter

She of­fers to act as me­di­a­tor between pi­lots and bosses – but air­line still re­fuses to talk

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Paul Neilan news@dai­ly­mail.ie

A RYANAIR cap­tain has pub­licly chal­lenged the air­line by writ­ing a let­ter to CEO Michael O’Leary over a lack of progress on ne­go­ti­a­tions for bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions.

The bud­get air­line has re­fused to ne­go­ti­ate with an in­terim union – the Euro­pean Em­ployee Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Com­mit­tee – set up by Ryanair pi­lots.

Ryanair has dis­missed a num­ber of let­ters from the EERC and pointed to the fact that no pi­lots had signed their name to the list of de­mands.

But Cap­tain Imelda Comer – a pi­lot with Ryanair for ten years – has now gone on record by writ­ing to Mr O’Leary of­fer­ing to act as an in­ter­me­di­ary between pi­lots and man­age­ment. How­ever, de­spite this, the car­rier says it will still refuse to deal with the EERC.

Cpt Comer hand-de­liv­ered the let­ter de­tail­ing the de­mands of the pi­lots to Ryanair HQ in Swords, Dublin, on Wed­nes­day, af­ter the air­line said it didn’t be­lieve her union rep­re­sented only Ryanair pi­lots. In her let­ter, Cpt Comer di­rectly ad­dresses CEO Mr O’Leary, say­ing: ‘I write to you as a con­duit to en­able con­struc­tive en­gage­ment between Ryanair man­age­ment and the pi­lot body.

‘The aim of this let­ter is to pro­vide the com­pany with a Ryanair pi­lot as you have re­quested.

‘Pi­lots is­sued a num­ber of cor­re­spon­dences to the com­pany, en­dorsed by the ERCs [Em­ployee Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cils] in 60 bases.

‘Re­gret­tably, the com­pany has ei­ther ig­nored th­ese or claimed they were not from le­git­i­mate Ryanair pi­lots. I wish to con­firm they were from the EERC group which is ex­clu­sively made up of Ryanair pi­lots from sev­eral coun­tries.’

Dublin-based Cpt Comer also posted a let­ter late last night on the pi­lots-unite web­site, writ­ing she has ‘not seen any­thing like the level of pi­lot anger, frus­tra­tion and dis­ap­point­ment’ in her col­leagues.

‘I have re­luc­tantly de­cided to make my­self known to the com­pany and the pi­lot body as a con­duit to progress... Our rep­re­sen­ta­tion sys­tem is bro­ken.’

The cap­tain ref­er­ences ‘pi­lots’ con­di­tions get­ting worse, com­pany prof­its get­ting bet­ter and more pi­lots leav­ing’.

‘Base deals are be­ing im­posed on us, with the usual ex­plicit or im­plicit threats of what will hap­pen if we don’t ac­cept the lat­est of­fer... com­pany man­age­ment got us into this mess. They can­not solve th­ese problems with­out us.

‘I am leav­ing Ryanair in the near fu­ture.

‘I am sure the com­pany will try to make a big is­sue out of that but I haven’t left yet. While I am here I pre­pared to serve you.

‘As I leave a com­pany I was once proud to be in, do­ing work I adore, I would like to con­trib­ute in any way I can to our col­lec­tive ef­forts to se­cure a bet­ter fu­ture for the pi­lots in Ryanair.’

Pi­lots want per­ma­nent con­tracts in line with lo­cal laws, recog­ni­tion as ne­go­ti­at­ing part­ners, and bench-mark­ing of con­di­tions to com­peti­tor air­lines ‘to stem the exit of pi­lots’.

They say they are will­ing to sur­ren­der some leave if con­di­tions are met.

Ryanair said the let­ter from the ‘so-called’ EERC is en­tirely disin­gen­u­ous and is signed by a con­trac­tor pi­lot who has al­ready re­signed and is leav­ing Ryanair on Oc­to­ber 31 – as she con­firmed she is mov­ing to Asia.

Pi­lots have been of­fered at least €12,000 in pay in­creases to stay with the air­line af­ter 140 pi­lots re­port­edly left for ri­val Nor­we­gian Air this year.

Pi­lots have been de­mand­ing to be recog­nised by Ryanair at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble over a num­ber of long-stand­ing is­sues brought to a head last month when the air­line can­celled 2,000 flights – af­fect­ing 400,000 pas­sen­gers – in or­der to catch up on leave owed be­fore the end of this month.

Last Fri­day, the Ir­ish Air Line Pi­lots’ As­so­ci­a­tion wel­comed the es­tab­lish­ment of the EERC in a let­ter that spoke of ‘an anti-pi­lot nar­ra­tive com­ing from the very top of Ryanair cre­at­ing a real fear fac­tor in pi­lots to be iden­ti­fied’.

Pi­lots of­fered €12k in pay in­creases

Boss: Mr O’Leary

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