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Friday 20 September 2019

Pilots union battles against Ryanair bid for strike injunction

Ryanair is seeking injunction. Photo: PA
Ryanair is seeking injunction. Photo: PA

The trade union representing Ryanair's Irish-based pilots has told the High Court that the airline is not entitled to an injunction preventing its members from going on strike later this week.

Forsa told the court that it is involved in a trade dispute relating to pay with Ryanair which, it says, has failed to agree or engage with proposals it made last March.

Forsa claims that the airline's response to its detailed pay proposals "was curt and dismissive".

While it regrets any negative consequences the industrial action will have on Ryanair's customers, it claims the proposed strike has been caused by Ryanair's treatment of a legitimate pay proposal.

In its action Ryanair DAC seeks orders against Forsa, which is the parent union of the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (Ialpa), preventing the union's members from striking for 48 hours commencing at midnight on Thursday.

The airline's action is also against a number of pilots who are members of Ialpa, including union president Evan Cullen.

Ialpa represents around 180 Dublin-based pilots who are directly employed by Ryanair.

The union recently balloted its members, who voted to go on strike.

If granted, the injunction would remain in place pending the final outcome of the airline's action against the defendants.

The airline, represented in court by Martin Hayden SC and Eoin O'Shea BL, is also seeking a declaration from the court that Forsa's ballot for the proposed strike action and its notice of strike action served on Ryanair last week was unlawful.

Mediation

The airline claims that the proposed strike breaches an agreement the parties agreed to following a mediation conducted by retired Workplace Relations Commission chair Kieran Mulvey in 2018.

The airline also claims that the dates of the industrial action were chosen to cause maximum disruption to its business and coincide with strike action being taken on the same dates by Ryanair's UK-based pilots.

The injunction application is before Mr Justice Denis McDonald and he hopes to have a decision by tomorrow.

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