Ryanair pilots in several European countries are taking industrial action tomorrow over the company’s continued failure to deliver improvements for the workforce. Their demands include contracts under national rather than Irish law, an end to false self-employment, a system of fair and transparent base transfer, fair sickness and pension provisions, and the establishment of a real social dialogue.
Rather than engaging constructively with its workforce during cabin crew strikes last month, Ryanair instead threatened jobs cuts for Dublin-based pilots and crew. Furthermore, there are now signs that the company would rather prevent workers exercising their right to strike in the courts than engage positively and deal with the real problems at hand.
This irresponsible and immature approach to industrial relations suggests that the company has a long way to go before it can be considered a fair employer. The problems Ryanair is facing will not be resolved by short-term fixes and hollow promises that continue to ignore workers’ legitimate demands.
Ryanair’s management must understand the social responsibilities it bears to its workforce. The company’s intransigence on these issues raises the question of whether the current management is capable of transitioning to a sustainable, unionised business model.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Ryanair's employment model has shown its limits. It must change radically and recognise the importance of its staff’s wellbeing as all modern and advanced companies do.
ITF and ETF support all lawful industrial action taken by Ryanair workers with the aim of winning a fair deal. If the company fails to engage with unions and deliver concrete improvements in pay and conditions then further strikes are probable.