RYANAIR has announced that it will ‘recognise pilot unions’ in order to avoid any threat of disruption during Christmas week.
The company has said that it will change its long standing policy of not recognising pilot unions and has written to the unions in Spain Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy and Portugal, inviting each of them for talks.
In a statement released on the airline’s website, it said that it would “recognise these unions as the representative body for pilots in Ryanair in each of these countries, 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.”
The low-cost airline has now called on the pilot unions to call off the threatened industrial action, set for Wednesday December 20, so that “customers can look forward to travelling home for Christmas without the threat or worry of pilot strikes hanging over them.”
Chief executive, 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.”