Ryanair shares fall, airline strikes deal with British airline pilots union

Ryanair shares reversed earlier gains to trade in the red around mid-morning Tuesday, following news the budget airline has struck an "historic" agreement to recognise BALPA as the union for its UK-based pilots.

Ryanair shares fall, airline strikes deal with British airline pilots union

Ryanair shares are trading a little lower Tuesday, as the budget airline announced it has agreed to recognise a union to represent its 600 UK-based pilots.

The British Airline Pilots Association, BALPA, is now able to represent Ryanair’s UK pilots, as the Irish airline honours the promise it made in December, in a bid to avert pilot strikes.

By 1030 BST, Ryanair shares were trading down 0.42% at €16.67, reversing earlier gains. The Ryanair stock has improved pretty steadily since it stated its intention to recognise pilot unions for the first time in its history.

Ryanair confirms BALPA agreement

UK pilots make up around a quarter of Ryanair’s pilot staff, so striking an agreement with the 600-strong group was likely considered important for the budget airline.

“Welcoming this UK recognition agreement, we are pleased today to announce this UK recognition agreement with BALPA on behalf of our directly employed pilots in the UK,” said Ryanair’s Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson, in a statement.

“This agreement validates the decision of Ryanair’s Board in December to recognise unions, and the fact that we have delivered pay rises of up to 20% and union recognition for our pilots in our largest market, shows how serious Ryanair is about working constructively with unions that are willing to work constructively with us,” Wilson added.

Wilson’s statement also detailed that the success with BALPA is in marked contrast with the lack of progress with some European pilot unions.

BALPA notes “historic” agreement

Just as Ryanair is positive on the BALPA agreement, the union itself is equally upbeat, although, it said that talks haven’t always been easy.

“Given Ryanair’s previous hostility towards unions, today’s agreement is an historic one,” said BALPA’s general secretary, Brian Strutton.

“While we were initially sceptical about Ryanair’s sincerity in offering recognition to us and other unions, our conversations and meetings with them have shown that they are genuine in wanting a constructive trade union relationship,” Strutton added.

BALPA said that five Ryanair pilots will be elected as Ryanair Company Council representatives. Strutton also urged Ryanair to continue working towards agreements with pilot unions in other countries, as well as cabin crew unions.

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