‘We’ll play fair, Ryanair’: unions respond to airline’s recognition decision

15 Dec 2017

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), who represent workers in all the major players in Europe’s aviation industry, including Ryanair, have welcomed Ryanair’s statement today that it will change its “long standing policy of not recognising unions”– and have issued a challenge to the airline to play fair from now on.

Steve Cotton, general secretary of the ITF, which represent pilots and cabin crew around the world, said:

“We welcome this significant policy change and see it as an opportunity for real progress. However, Ryanair must not stop at pilots’ unions. Trade union recognition is a fundamental right of all workers and we fully expect it to be extended to all categories of workers.”

Eduardo Chagas, general secretary of the ETF, commented: “The airline has wisely seen that this is an opportunity to change. What is needed is a serious reform of its employment practices. Particularly in light of the recent European Court of Justice decision, today’s announcement by Ryanair once again raises the relevance of the application of national laws across their workforce.”

Steve Cotton cautioned: “While we welcome this development, we understand that it may take time to build trust between us given the history, but we are prepared to work hard at this, and we will play fair; we expect the company to do the same.”

Ryanair was under discussion yesterday as 20 ETF and ITF European unions from more than a dozen countries met in Florence to discuss common strategies.

The ITF and ETF have today written to Michael O’Leary saying that they are happy to facilitate such discussions.

For more information:

Bryn Watkins, communications officer, the European Transport Workers’ Federation

Tel: +32 2 285 45 87

Mob: +32 470 93 05 90

Andy Khan-Gordon, communications officer, the International Transport Workers’ Federation 

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7940 9282

Mob: +44 (0) 7711 356 964