Ryanair pilot challenges O’Leary in public letter
She offers to act as mediator between pilots and bosses – but airline still refuses to talk
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