Ryanair tells pilots it cannot meet representatives before planned Wednesday strikes, reports

Update 5.14pm: Ryanair has told pilot unions it cannot meet their representatives before planned strikes in Ireland and Portugal on Wednesday, according to RTÉ.

It is reported that representatives for pilots accused the airline of "playing chicken"  and the strikes will not be called off unless there is a meeting.

Ryanair said the union promised to call off the strike if Ryanair conceded recognition. The airline released the following statement:

    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.

Update 3.20pm: Ryanair has announced it will recognise pilot unions in six European countries - including Ireland - as it tries to avoid disruption over Christmas.

The airline is now calling for threatened industrial action on Wednesday to be called off.

The Irish Airline Pilots Association said it has received a letter from Ryanair and is now looking for a meeting between management and the union.

Ryanair's chief people officer Eddie Wilson said it's long-standing policy of not recognising workers' groups is changing now.

"We have had a number of threatened strikes across a number of countries in Europe and to protect our passenger's travel plans over the Christmas period we've decided to make that decision now. We're decisive in it," he said.

 

Update 2pm: The IMPACT trade union, which represents pilots, has said it has contacted Ryanair this afternoon.

The union said it was looking for a meeting between management and the union to clarify issues and make progress.

IMPACT said it was available to meet with Ryanair today or over the weekend for talks but it should emerge later today if pilots will call off their Christmas strike over negotiation rights.

Update 11.54am: Recognition of pilot unions 'an evolution of business model' - Ryanair CEO

Planned Christmas strikes by Ryanair pilots could be called off after the airline said it would officially recognise unions.

The Irish Airline Pilots Association says it's considering correspondence from Ryanair after its dramatic U-turn this morning.

Pilots at Cork, Shannon and Dublin Airports were planning to walk off the job next Wednesday in a row over negotiating rights.

Speaking to the BBC, Ryanair CEO Peter Bellew says the move is an "evolution of the business model"

"We see the value right across our network of aviation professionals. They have requested this form of collectve bargaining and we have agreed to it because we feel the time is right.

"It is an evolution of the business model effectively."

Update - 8.17am: Ryanair set to recognise pilot unions for first time in order to avoid Christmas strikes

Ryanair has agreed to recognise pilot unions to avoid widespread customer disruptions over Christmas period.

The airline has called for the planned strike action to halt and it has written to the pilot unions in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal to invite them to talks to recognise the unions.

Ryanair said they will recognise them "as long as they establish Committees of Ryanair pilots to deal with Ryanair issues, as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines in Ireland or elsewhere".

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: "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.

"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.

"Recognising unions will be a significant change for Ryanair, but we have delivered radical change before, most recently when we launched Ryanair Labs and our highly successful Always Getting Better customer improvement programme in 2013.

"Putting the needs of our customers first, and avoiding disruption to their Christmas flights, is the reason why we will now deal with our pilots through recognised national union structures and we hope and expect that these structures can and will be agreed with our pilots early in the New Year."

6.28am: Ryanair may draft in European crews to cover strike by Irish pilots

It has been reported Ryanair may hire planes and draft in European crews to staff flights impacted by next week's strike.

Pilots based in Cork, Dublin and Shannon plan to walk off the job next Wednesday in the row over collective bargaining rights.

The airline will be giving passengers just two days notice, when it publishes a list of affected flights on Monday.

The Irish Times reports Ryanair's back-up plans to cover routes may include using captains-in-training.

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