Ryanair strike may still go ahead despite airline's union offer
A strike planned by Ryanair pilots days before Christmas may still go ahead - despite the airline's dramatic decision to recognise unions for the first time.
It comes despite a personal reassurance from chief executive Michael O'Leary that the offer of recognition is genuine.
Mr O'Leary said yesterday that the radical U-turn was a bid to avoid travel chaos for customers during Christmas week.
He spoke to the airline's chief captains across its almost 90 bases yesterday afternoon.
During a conference call with the pilots, Mr O'Leary is understood to have said that the offer of union recognition from Ryanair is genuine.
He also told pilots that the move will have a longer-term positive impact on the carrier.
Ryanair has sought a meeting with the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA) on Wednesday, the day planned strike action is set to take place, and has asked the union to call off the strike. However, the Impact trade union, to which the IALPA is affiliated, has indicated that the strike will go ahead as planned if a meeting is not held before then.
One day of industrial action is planned for December 20 and will mostly involve captains.
In a statement yesterday, Ryanair said: "The Impact union promised to call off the strike if Ryanair conceded recognition.
"They've gotten our offer of recognition in writing and we're happy to meet them next week, which itself is the first act in recognising IALPA.
"The UK and Italian unions have already agreed to meetings with Ryanair and have called off the threatened strike in Italy.
"The sensible course of action is for IALPA to meet with Ryanair next Wednesday, but call off the unnecessary threats of disruption to the Christmas flights of thousands of customers."
Announcing the news that the budget airline was to recognise unions for the first time in 32 years, Mr O'Leary said the pilots should call off the threat.
"Christmas flights are very important to our customers and we wish to remove any worry or concern that they may be disrupted by pilot industrial action next week," he said.
"If the best way to achieve this is to talk to our pilots through a recognised union process, then we are prepared to do so, and we have written today to these unions inviting them to talks to recognise them and calling on them to cancel the threatened industrial action planned for Christmas week."