May 20, 2019 / 2:26 PM / 2 months ago

British union to ballot Ryanair pilots over possible strike action

DUBLIN, May 20 (Reuters) - The union representing Ryanair’s British pilots will hold an indicative ballot to see if there is support for industrial action over a pay dispute, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Ryanair suffered a series of damaging strikes last year after the carrier bowed to pressure in late 2017 to recognise unions for the first time. That contributed to the weakest annual profit in four years, the airline reported on Monday.

Europe’s largest budget airline has managed to quell the disputes by reaching agreements with many unions in Europe on pay and allowances, but has yet to move beyond the recognition agreement it struck with Britain’s BALPA union almost 18 months ago.

In a newsletter to members sent on Monday, the union said Ryanair had “failed to even table a counter offer” to the pay claim it submitted as part of the talks on a wider agreement and accused the airline of “stalling tactics”.

“The stance adopted by the company does not allow us, as Ryanair pilots, to share meaningfully in the success of the company - a success that we have all been instrumental in achieving,” BALPA’s Ryanair Company Council said in the letter.

BALPA said that the indicative ballot would be followed by an official ballot if it opted for industrial action but that it intended to reach a negotiated settlement without the need for escalation, “if at all possible”.

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said earlier on Monday that he did not expect disruption this summer due to labour issues, but that he can never completely rule out renewed disruption. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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