Ryanair puts future of its Cork and Shannon bases into play in clash with pilots trade union Fórsa


Ryanair has threatened to close two of its Irish bases — in Cork and Shannon — and axe up to 120 pilot jobs unless its Irish pilots bypass their union and directly accept a pay cut, a memo seen by Reuters said.

The airline is demanding pay cuts of up to 20% and changes to work practices across Europe. It has said it plans 3,000 job cuts and a reduction in staff unit costs, but faces union resistance in a number of countries.

In the memo sent on Friday, Ryanair director of operations Neal McMahon told pilots the union council representing Irish pilots had walked away from talks on Wednesday, something the Fórsa trade union denied.

Mr McMahon said a union request for an extension of a 30-day consultation on job cuts represented “stalling tactics”.

Instead, the memo sent on the company’s internal messaging system, asked pilots to click a button to accept proposals including a 20% pay cut that would be reversed gradually within four years, a spreading of available work via job shares and unpaid leave, and “productivity improvements”.

It said the number of job losses, and whether bases at Cork and Shannon airports remained open, would depend on the number of acceptances. A Ryanair spokeswoman said she had “nothing further to add to that memo”.

Fórsa in a memo to pilots on Friday said Ryanair’s latest proposal was unacceptable as it would effectively leave pilots temporarily on zero-hour contracts and provided no guarantee job losses would be avoided. It said it had requested third-party mediation, but had not received a reply. 

Ryanair, which is reopening much of its network this week, says it needs to cut staff costs to compete with rivals that have received state bailouts.

Union representatives have pointed to management comments about expansion opportunities likely to be triggered by the retrenchment of rivals in the wake of Covid-19.

Separately, the trade union battling British Airways said last week it had met investors in its parent company IAG, seeking to ramp up pressure on the airline over plans to cut staff, pay, and conditions.

Source: Business News