By André Orban
The Ultimatum filed by the Ryanair pilots federation did not receive a response from management, thus the Irish airline’s pilots decided to go on a “white strike”.
In concrete terms, they will stick to the bare minimum during their working days. For example, it is stipulated in their contract that they must arrive 45 minutes before the take-off, but in practice, the pilots are obliged to arrive earlier so that the take-off takes place on time. Now, they will actually arrive exactly 45 minutes before schedule, often making it impossible for the flight to leave on time. They also plan to take more time to land and park the planes. In other words, they are staging a “white” strike, which will certainly result in substantial delays in the 60 Ryanair bases that have filed the ultimatum.
Other pilots have suggested that flight crew may consider unofficial action such as “mass sick days”, of the kind which recently grounded hundreds of flights from Air Berlin.
This Wednesday, in a joint letter, the pilots had issued an ultimatum to the management if it did not respond to their requests: real contracts (the pilots are currently being paid based on flight hours), i.e. a fixed contract with the related social protection (holidays with pay, pension contributions, etc.) based on the legislation of the country where they are based. Pilots must also pay for their uniforms and training, a situation perceived as unacceptable.
This social conflict creates tension within the company, and it has recently had a direct impact on the company’s service: until the end of October, and from the beginning of September, 40 to 50 aircraft have been cancelled daily, due to planning problems with regard to the holidays of pilots. Initially, Ryanair had not communicated these cancellations in advance, causing the anger of throngs of unhappy travellers.