& Submits Competition Complaint To EU Commission Over Competitor Airline Pilots/Cabin Crew Interference In Its Trade Union Negotiations
Ryanair has today (Wed 26 Sept) published its offer to pilots and cabin crew in order to set the record straight, correct competitor trade union propaganda and pave the way to a speedy conclusion of collective labour agreements (CLA’s) with its people and their unions.
Ryanair has also submitted a competition complaint to the European Commission, calling for an investigation of the anti-competitive behaviour of certain competitor airline crew, unions and lobby groups, who are actively impeding Ryanair’s negotiations with its pilots/cabin crew and who are organising repeated strikes in an effort to damage Ryanair’s business and customer confidence, for the benefit of Ryanair’s competitors.
Ryanair has made significant progress over the past 9 months in negotiations with trade unions across Europe, which include:
– Irish recognition agreement with FORSA union, covering pilots, and cabin crew.
– Irish mediation agreement covering pilot seniority, promotions, and base transfers.
– Recognition and CLA agreements for all Ryanair pilots based in Italy.
– Recognition and CLA agreements for all cabin crew based in Italy.
– Recognition agreement with BALPA covering all UK based pilots.
– Recognition agreement with Unite covering all UK based cabin crew.
– Recognition agreement with Verdi to cover German cabin crew.
Despite all this progress in a short 9-month period, Ryanair continues to face significant impediments in certain countries where competitor airline pilots and cabin crew are interfering in negotiations, or blocking progress, up to and including organising unnecessary strikes, most notably;
– In Spain, Norwegian cabin crew in Alicante are organising these cabin crew strikes.
– In Portugal, TAP cabin crew are organising these strikes.
– In the Netherlands, the pilots union insist that a KLM pilot negotiates with Ryanair.
– In Sweden, pilot unions refused to meet unless a Braathens pilot is invited.
Ryanair has complained that some 8% of its (450,000) customers are facing strikes and flight disruptions on Fri 28th Sept over demands made 2 weeks ago by these competitor airline pilots and cabin crew, which Ryanair has already agreed to, including:
– Local contracts in Belgium, Netherlands, Spain and Germany in early 2019.
– Local law and local tax as part of a CLA in early 2019.
– National seniority lists, similar to that agreed in Ireland.
– Base transfer agreements based on seniority (as already agreed in Ireland).
Ryanair’s business is being damaged by unnecessary strikes and disruptive interference in our bona fide union negotiations, promoted and coordinated by competitor airline employees, their unions and lobby groups. This is an unlawful attempt to distort competition and customer choice, for the benefit of legacy airlines. Ryanair calls on DG COMP to immediately investigate the nature of this collective campaign, including numerous behind-closed-doors meetings held under the banners of the ECA (competitor pilots) and the ITF (competitor cabin crew). The object and effect of this unlawful behaviour has been to impede the progress of Ryanair’s industrial relations engagement regardless of the status of individual union negotiations, as evidenced by the unnecessary pan European strike on Fri 28 Sept, which was agreed in a meeting of several cabin crew unions in Rome on 7 Sept last.
Ryanair has offered to meet with our people and their unions in every EU country with the only pre-condition being no competitor employee involvement. Lufthansa does not allow Ryanair people to join in its union negotiations in Germany. Similarly, in Spain and Portugal, when Iberia and TAP meet their unions, they do not negotiate with Ryanair pilots or cabin crew. While Ryanair is new to the process of negotiating with unions, it is simply unlawful and anti-competitive that certain unions are insisting that competitor airline pilots and cabin crew participate in meetings with Ryanair, where our business, pay and terms and conditions are discussed.
Speaking in Brussels today, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:
“We have made real progress with the unions and our people in many EU countries since we agreed to recognise unions in Dec 2017. However, in certain countries, most notably in Portugal, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, and Sweden similar progress is being impeded by the interference of competitor airline pilots and cabin crew who are conspiring to call repeated and unnecessary strikes, which are disrupting Ryanair’s customers, and damaging our business for the benefit of their legacy airline employers.
We are not aware of any other multi-national company in Europe where its union negotiations are interfered with by competitor employees. Volkswagen’s union negotiations do not take place with Peugeot car workers. Tesco is not required to meet with ASDA employees. Yet in Ryanair currently, we are being asked to negotiate with pilots and/or cabin crew of Aer Lingus, Norwegian, TAP, Eurowings, KLM and Braathens. This is anti-competitive behaviour which damages consumers.
The majority of Ryanair’s pilots and cabin crew do not support these strikes, and they have continued to work normally. We work hard to ensure that our people enjoy the best pay, terms and conditions of any low cost 737 airline in Europe. Our pilots and cabin crew wish to come to work free from intimidation from these competitor unions. They are being denied this opportunity by unnecessary strikes, which are being organised unlawfully on a Europe wide basis in meetings of competitor airline pilots and cabin crew. This is damaging Ryanair’s business for the benefit of legacy airlines. We have today published our offer to pilots and cabin crew, and call on the European Commission – if it’s going to defend the growth of low fare air travel and consumer choice – to take action now to prevent these competitor airline employees from interfering with our business and damaging the best interests of our customers to the benefit of high fare legacy airlines”.