herald

Saturday 7 December 2019

Ryanair promises 'a full schedule' as pilot strike blocked

Passengers face ‘small delays’
Passengers face ‘small delays’

Ryanair passengers could face some minor disruption today despite the High Court blocking a strike by the airline's Irish-based pilots.

The court yesterday granted Ryanair an injunction preventing a 48-hour strike by 180 pilots over pay.

However, the airline lost a similar bid at the High Court in London to prevent strikes by its UK-based pilots in the same 48-hour period.

Ryanair said it expected to operate a full schedule of flights to and from UK airports today and tomorrow.

However, it said it "cannot rule out some small flight delays and/or flight changes".

"We are working hard with our pilot teams to minimise any such delays for our customers and their families," Ryanair said in a statement.

The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa), which represents pilots in the UK, said Ms Justice Lambert, sitting in the UK court, rejected Ryanair's arguments and agreed that the union's industrial action ballot and procedures were lawful, so the strike could proceed.

The Irish court's ruling will have serious repercussions for trade unions.

The Irish pilots' parent union, Forsa, said it will not be able to "consider its next steps" until it has the court's ruling in writing, and has considered it fully with its legal team.

It said in a statement that it had informed the Ryanair pilots that strikes planned for today and Friday will not now take place.

Ryanair said the ruling will come as a "huge relief" to thousands of passengers and their families during the last week of the school holidays.

It said in a statement that all flights scheduled to depart today and tomorrow from Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports will operate as normal.

Minority

"Ryanair calls on the Forsa union and this small minority of very well paid Irish pilots to return to mediation so that any disputes can be resolved without unnecessarily disrupting the travel plans of thousands of Irish passengers," it said.

It added that the pilots should explain why they are seeking 101pc increases for captains, who already earn more than €172,000-a-year.

It said Forsa agreed pay increases for Aer Lingus pilots of 9pc over three years, or an average of 3pc-a-year.

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