Ryanair pi­lots threaten bank hol­i­day flights for 250,000

Daily Mail - - News - Trans­port Ed­i­tor By James Salmon

THE Bank Hol­i­day plans of up to 250,000 Ryanair pas­sen­gers were in the bal­ance last night amid a fu­ri­ous row over the pay of its pi­lots.

The bud­get air­line is locked in a bit­ter dis­pute with a union over the pay and perks of pi­lots who are threat­en­ing to strike to­mor­row and Fri­day.

Its lawyers are mak­ing a last-ditch High Court le­gal chal­lenge to­day to block the in­dus­trial ac­tion.

Ex­perts warn if the protests go ahead they could dis­rupt the hol­i­day plans of pas­sen­gers booked on up to 1,714 Ryanair flights due to de­part from UK air­ports in­clud­ing Stansted, Birm­ing­ham, Manchester and Liver­pool.

Mem­bers of pi­lots union Balpa want bet­ter con­di­tions, in­clud­ing new ‘standby al­lowances’ for when they are on call or standby.

But a leaked in­ter­nal memo says pi­lots al­ready en­joy gen­er­ous ba­sic pack­ages worth six fig­ure when topped up by al­lowances and bonuses.

The memo de­tails how UK-based cap­tains al­ready re­ceive an­nual pay pack­ages worth up to £170,000 a year. Ryanair says the union is de­mand­ing rises worth be­tween 62 per cent and 121 per cent over two years.

The doc­u­ment fo­cuses on the pack­ages of five UK-based cap­tains at the fore­front of the dis­pute who are all mem­bers of Balpa’s Ryanair Com­pany Coun­cil.

This coun­cil was set up last year to rep­re­sent Ryanair pi­lots, af­ter the bud­get air­line fi­nally agreed to recog­nise trade unions.

One pi­lot on a pack­age of £158,042 a year is said to be de­mand­ing a rise which would push up their to­tal pack­age to £349,922 in 2021. The strike has been backed by around 350 of the air­line’s 1,250 UK-based pi­lots.

But Ryanair hopes there will not be ‘sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion’ be­cause it has pi­lots on standby. An­other walkout is due to take place be­tween Septem­ber 2 and Septem­ber 4. This could af­fect many more fam­i­lies fly­ing home be­fore the end of the school hol­i­days, rais­ing the prospect of pas­sen­gers stranded abroad.

Ryanair spokesman Ed­die Wil­son said: ‘Balpa should not be dis­rupt­ing cus­tomers and their fam­i­lies with ex­ces­sive and un­ex­plained de­mands for pay in­creases.’ The de­tails of the pack­ages en­joyed by Ryanair pi­lots are fiercely dis­puted by Balpa. It said they had been ‘ex­ag­ger­ated’.

Of­fi­cials say the aver­age ba­sic for cap­tains is be­tween £70,00 and £75,000 and the aver­age first officer’s ba­sic is be­tween £30,000 and £35,000.

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