The British Airlines Pilots Association (BALPA) has announced strike dates for UK-based Ryanair pilots during August and September.

The pilots are set to walk out for a total of five days, as follows:

  • From 0001 on August 22 until 2359 on August 23
  • From 0001 on September 2 until 2359 September 4

The planned industrial action follows a ballot of members, with 80 per cent voting in favour of strikes, on a turnout of 72 per cent.

In a statement BALPA said:

“Decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions has resulted in two things. Firstly, a management that apparently doesn’t understand how to work with unions, and secondly a company that doesn’t have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace.

“That is why our claim includes many issues including pensions; loss of license insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure.

“We have made no progress with Ryanair management on any of those areas at all, seemingly because Ryanair management cannot understand how to go about working with us constructively, or how to negotiate. Ryanair has made no offer to BALPA in respect of its pilots.”

However Ryanair – which recently announced a 21 per cent fall in profits, despite rising anicallary revenue – said that it was disappointed by the strikes, stating that the action had the support of “less than 30 per cent of Ryanair’s UK pilots”.

In a statement the carrier said:

“The independent result of BALPA’s ballot shows that less than 50 per cent of Ryanair’s UK pilots are members of BALPA, and of these, just 57 per cent voted in favour of industrial action.

This is less than 30 per cent of Ryanair’s UK pilots. It is notable that over 70 per cent of Ryanair’s UK pilots are either not members of BALPA, or did not vote in BALPA’s ballot, or voted against industrial action.

“BALPA have no mandate to disrupt our customers holidays and flights, particularly at a time when UK pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no deal Brexit on October 31.

“Last year, Ryanair’s UK pilots agreed a 20 per cent salary increase, with Senior Captain’s earning up to £180,000 p.a., which is more than competitor airline pilots in Norwegian or Jet2. BALPA is recommending a pay freeze for Jet2 pilots in return for improved rosters (which Ryanair pilots already enjoy), and/or 12 months unpaid leave for Norwegian’s Gatwick pilots.

“This BALPA industrial action has no mandate from Ryanair pilots, is ill-timed just ten weeks before Brexit, and will cause unnecessary disruption to customers holidays and travel plans. We have written to BALPA asking them to return to talks, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any uncertainty that BALPA’s ballot may cause them.

“We hope BALPA will now work with Ryanair to minimise job losses instead of undertaking ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action.”

The news follows ongoing talks between BALPA and British Airways, aimed at avoiding strikes, following a vote in favour of industrial action last month.,