Ryanair Bypasses Union, Threatens Base Closures In Irish Pilot Talks
Ryanair has threatened to close two regional bases and axe up to 120 pilot jobs unless pilots in its home Irish market bypass their union and directly accept a pay cut, a memo seen by Reuters said.
Europe's largest low-cost carrier is demanding pay cuts of up to 20% and changes to work practices across Europe.
It has said that it plans 3,000 job cuts and a reduction in staff unit costs, but faces union resistance in a number of markets.
In the memo, Ryanair director of operations Neal McMahon told pilots that the union council representing Irish pilots had walked away from talks on Wednesday June 24, something that the Forsa trade union denied.
McMahon said that a union request for an extension of a 30-day consultation on job cuts represents "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 that the number of job losses and whether bases at Cork and Shannon airports remain open will depend on the number of acceptances.
A Ryanair spokeswoman said that she had "nothing further to add to that memo".
Trade union Forsa, in a memo to pilots on Friday June 26, said that Ryanair's latest proposal is unacceptable as it would effectively leave pilots temporarily on zero-hour contracts and provides no guarantee that job losses would be avoided.
Forsa said that it has requested third-party mediation, but has not received a reply.
Ryanair, which is reopening much of its network on July 1, said that 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.