British Ryanair pilots vote for strike over conditions and pay

Budget airline Ryanair faces more strikes on Monday, while rival Norwegian is asking creditors for help with its debts.
A Ryanair plane on the tarmac at Niederrhein airport in Weeze, Germany. The strikes by members of the British Airline Pilots Association will be held from Aug 22 to 23 and again from Sept 2 to 4.
A Ryanair plane on the tarmac at Niederrhein airport in Weeze, Germany. The strikes by members of the British Airline Pilots Association will be held from Aug 22 to 23 and again from Sept 2 to 4.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (AFP) - British pilots at the low-fare carrier Ryanair announced on Wednesday (Aug 7) that they are to go on strike in the coming weeks in a dispute over conditions and pay.

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) voted 4-1 to back a campaign of action, on a 72 per cent turnout.

Strikes will be held from Aug 22 to 23 and again from Sept 2 to 4.

A Ryanair spokesman said fewer than 50 per cent of its British pilots were Balpa members.

"This Balpa industrial action has no mandate from Ryanair pilots, is ill-timed just 10 weeks before Brexit, and will cause unnecessary disruption to customers' holidays and travel plans."

Balpa said Ryanair did not have standard workplace agreements that any union would expect.

"Our claim includes many issues including pensions, loss of licence insurance, maternity benefits, allowances, and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure," it said in a statement.

Balpa members at British Airways have also voted to take industrial action in a separate dispute over pay.

Ryanair saw first-quarter net profits sink by more than a fifth, as it faced headwinds from rising costs, intense competition and Brexit turmoil, the Irish airline said on July 29.

Earnings after taxation slumped 21 per cent to €243 million (S$375 million) in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same portion of the previous financial year, Ryanair said in a results statement.

Britain accounts for around a quarter of Ryanair's revenues.