Ryanair confirmed signing a formal Union Recognition agreement with British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). According to the Irish carrier, BALPA and its newly elected BALPA Ryanair Company Council will now be the “sole representative body” for Ryanair’s pilots in the UK.

“Ryanair welcomes the positive and constructive engagement of BALPA which led to the formal signing of this recognition agreement within 5 weeks of the first meeting”, the company announced in a statement.

UK is the largest market for Ryanair. It accounts for approximately a quarter of the carrier’s current pilot body and 400-aircraft fleet.

During the negotiations with BALPA, Ryanair conducted voting in the remaining six out of fifteen UK Bases over the previously proposed up to 20% pilot pay increase terms. The proposal was accepted, the company announces.

“Today’s agreement between Ryanair and BALPA shows that Ryanair can work with unions that wish to work with us to promote the interests of both our pilots and our customers,” said Ryanair’s Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson, who also used the opportunity to warn unions in other EU countries to accept the proposed terms of pay increases.

“This rapid progress in the UK is in marked contrast to some other EU countries where we are still waiting for a response to our recognition proposals and where some unions have failed to put these substantial pay increases to our pilots”, said Wilson. “We now call on these unions to stop wasting time and act quickly to deliver 20% pay increases to our pilots in February, and conclude formal recognition agreements, which they are presently sitting on”.

On December 15, 2017 Ryanair announced a momentous change in its long standing policy by agreeing to recognize pilot unions in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The announcement came following its pilots’ vote in favour of a strike during the busy Christmas period, held earlier in December 2017.