Ryanair and pilot union BALPA agree to cut wages but save jobs

In an unlikely scenario, Ryanair and British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) shook hands and agreed that the company’s pilots would reduce their wages and productivity changes in order to minimize job losses amidst the country’s pilot base.

The two sides agreed on a 20% wage reduction over the coming four years. In addition, the new labor agreement includes productivity improvements, flexible rostering and annual leave to prevent job losses for pilots that are based in the United Kingdom. BALPA indicated that the low-cost carrier agreed to restore flight crews’ wages to normal levels in four years’ time.

“We do not relish accepting pay cuts and this is going to be tough for many of our pilot members. But we are at least pleased to have ensured that the overwhelming number of pilots whose jobs were at risk will continue to be employed,” stated Brian Strutton, the General Secretary of BALPA. However, the union noted that out of the 330 jobs that were at risk previously, 70 are still on the chopping block.

The 70 threatened positions are located at four Ryanair bases facing potential closures, namely Bournemouth International Airport (BOH), Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK), Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), and London Southend Airport (SEN).

“We will remain in negotiations with the airline about those jobs and aim to protect those too,” read a statement by BALPA.

Ryanair anticipates that the crisis will result in the airline carrying 50% less traffic at significantly lower fares in the short-term. In May 2020, the airline group’s chief executive officer (CEO) Michael O’Leary stated that “sales will be necessary to stimulate demand,” as the industry recovers from the COVID-19 shockwave.

Another factor that will help the low-cost carrier recover is the return-to-service of the Boeing 737 MAX, as it would enable Ryanair to restart its growth.


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