Ryanair recognises pilots’ trade union for collective pay bargaining


Ryanair has signed a voluntary trade union recognition agreement with the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) to enable collective pay bargaining.

The agreement, signed on 30 January 2018, recognises BALPA as the sole trade union representation for all of Ryanair’s 600 employed pilots based in the UK. This means that the union will be able to negotiate matters such as pay, hours, rostering and holidays on behalf of its members.

BALPA has opened elections for its members in order to create a council of five Ryanair-employed pilots to act as employee representatives. The elected council representatives will then lead any future negotiations with the airline organisation, for example surrounding pay. In addition, BALPA will also open an election for an advisory group for contractor pilots who are not employed directly by Ryanair.

Eddie Wilson, chief people officer at Ryanair, said: “We are pleased to announce this UK recognition agreement with BALPA on behalf of our directly employed pilots in the UK. The UK accounts for 25% of Ryanair’s fleet and pilot numbers. This agreement validates the decision of Ryanair’s board in December to recognise unions, and the fact that we have delivered pay rises of up to 20% and union recognition for our pilots in our largest market, shows how serious Ryanair is about working constructively with unions that are willing to work constructively with us.

“This rapid progress in the UK is in marked contrast to some other [European Union] countries where we are still waiting for a response to our recognition proposals and where some unions have failed to put these substantial pay increases to our pilots. We now call on these unions to stop wasting time and act quickly to deliver 20% pay increases to our pilots in February, and conclude formal recognition agreements, which they are presently sitting on.

“Ryanair will not allow these unions to delay pay increases to our pilots. In Dublin for example, where just 35% of our pilots have not yet received this pay increase, we have warned [the] FÓRSA/IALPA [trade union] that we will offer it to these pilots individually if they refuse [or] fail to organise a vote among just 35% of our Dublin pilots on this pay increase on [or] before 31 [January].

“[This] agreement between Ryanair and BALPA shows that Ryanair can work with unions that wish to work with us to promote the interests of both our pilots and our customers.”

Brian Strutton, general secretary at BALPA, added: “Given Ryanair’s previously hostility towards unions, [this] agreement is an historic one. While we were initially skeptical about Ryanair’s sincerity in offering recognition to us and other unions, our conversations and meetings with them have shown that they are genuine in wanting a constructive trade union relationship.

“I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between BALPA and Ryanair and I urge Ryanair to agree deals with pilot unions in other countries and with cabin crew unions.”