Republic of Ireland news

Ryanair is to recognise cabin crew unions for the first time

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary
By Michael McHugh, Press Association

Ryanair is to recognise cabin crew unions for the first time, the company said.

Meetings will be held in "due course", a spokesman for the firm confirmed, as part of a major shake-up in employee relations.

The airline is due to meet a pilots' union for the first time in its 32-year history on Tuesday.

The decision by one of Europe's largest carriers to deal with unions after years of trenchant opposition follows threatened pre-Christmas strike action by Irish-based pilots, which was called off earlier this week.

A statement from the budget carrier said: "As Ryanair's statement of Friday December 15 made clear, Ryanair is moving to recognise unions, starting this week with meetings with Irish, German and Portuguese pilot unions.

"It will lead on in the new year to meetings with other EU pilot unions and cabin crew unions in due course as well."

The union Impact, which represents Irish-based pilots, has agreed to meet the low-cost carrier's management on Tuesday.

Some 117 directly employed Ryanair pilots are involved in the dispute, the majority of the firm's captains in Ireland.

Any walkout would have severely affected flights there and had a knock-on effect elsewhere.

Wednesday's cancelled one-day industrial action was about winning independent representation for pilots in the company, Impact has said.

Ryanair also faces challenges from staff in Germany, Portugal, Britain and Italy.

In October, airline boss Michael O'Leary wrote to his pilots to offer them better pay and conditions after Ryanair was forced to cancel thousands of flights.

The carrier admitted it had "messed up" the planning of its pilots' holidays.

Its decision to recognise unions after threatened strike action was part of a bid by managers to reassure passengers about their travel plans over the festive season.

It could have the effect of driving up labour costs at the no-frills airline, analysts have suggested.

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