Published: Sat, December 16, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Ryanair strike: Shares plunge as threat of Christmas week travel chaos remains

Ryanair strike: Shares plunge as threat of Christmas week travel chaos remains

The move comes after Ryanair pilots in several countries threatened to strike in the busy run-up to Christmas.

Impact, an Irish trade union which represents over 100 Ryanair pilots, mostly captains, called for meetings with Ryanair to clarify precisely what the airline has committed to.

Aviation journalist Gerry Byrne thinks the pilots are being cautious because Ryanair's offer doesn't meet all their demands.

Statements from Ryanair and IMPACT this morning indicate that the strike by some pilots at the airline next week will go ahead, as Ryanair have said the position it set out yesterday had not changed, while IMPACT have said action will go ahead unless management arrange to meet beforehand.

Ryanair offered on Friday to recognise pilot unions for the first time in its 32-year history in a last-minute attempt to avert its first-ever pilot strike.

In Germany the VC union said it was seeking firm dates for negotiations with Ryanair.

Mr O'Leary said the pilots should call off the threat.

Speaking yesterday, CEO Michael O'Leary said the radical U-turn was a bid to avoid travel chaos for customers during Christmas week.

"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", he said.

Trade unions did not immediately call off the December 20 strikes in response to the news although they did leave the door open for the industrial action to be cancelled, pending talks.

"We are ready to meet them today or tomorrow if necessary and we want to have that meeting just to make sure that there is substance to the offer they made in writing and to flesh out how that recognition process would proceed", he said.

Impact had warned Mr O'Leary that the threatened industrial action would either ground flights or generate substantial losses for the company.

While Italian union ANPAC suspended a strike due to take place between 1400 and 1800 GMT on Friday, the FIT-CISL transport union, which represents a smaller number of Italian pilots and some cabin crew, said the planned four-hour strike on Friday would go ahead.

But because it primarily involved captains it had the potential to cause severe disruption as planes can not legally or safely fly without the senior pilot.

The news emerged as pilot unions continued to threaten strikes at Ryanair despite chief executive Michael O'Leary's pledge that the company would enter talks with them on recognition. "Trade union recognition is a fundamental right of all workers and we fully expect it to be extended to all categories of workers". "What is needed is a serious reform of its employment practices".

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