Ryanair’s bid to block planned strike action by its UK pilots will head to the High Court on Wednesday (21 August).
There, the budget carrier will seek an injunction to nullify pilots union Balpa’s successful strike ballot.
Balpa’s Ryanair members are due to walk out on Thursday and Friday (22-23 August), with another round of strike action planned in September.
The union has accused Ryanair of trying to stop the strikes via a technicality, and says it has “blown its chance” of resolving the dispute over pay and conditions ahead of the strikes.
“Because Ryanair has wasted time with unnecessary court action, their chance to resolve the dispute involving their pilots has been lost,” said Balpa in a statement.
“Instead, Ryanair is relying on legal technicalities to try to persuade the High Court to block the strike. Balpa invited Ryanair to join them at talks this week but the airline refused.”
General secretary Brian Strutton added: “Ryanair pilots in the UK have a serious dispute with their company which will not be resolved by raising legal technicalities in the High Court.
“Their attempt to block lawful strike action is just another demonstration of the bullying tactics the airline appears to favour. It means all the time that could have been used to try to find a resolution will now be spent preparing for the court action.
“It’s also worrying to see Ryanair continue to sell tickets for strike days – are they prepared to offer compensation to passengers if they are affected? I think they should tell passengers exactly where they stand.”
Balpa members voted four to one in favour of strike action earlier this month on a 72% turnout.
Ryanair wrote to Balpa stating its ballot represented only a small proportion of its pilots and that the airline’s UK pilots enjoyed “favourable pay and conditions” compared to competitors.
In a counter statement, Ryanair said: “Balpa, who represent a small number of highly paid UK pilots, should not be disrupting the return holiday flights of UK families later this week when Ryanair captains already earn £180,000 p.a and are now seeking unjustified pay increases of between 65% to 121%.”
The High Court in Dublin on Wednesday ruled in favour of Ryanair and blocked a proposed strike by the airline’s Irish pilots, also scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
Judges ruled the Irish pilots union Forsa had not allowed talks with the airline to reach a conclusion before calling the strikes, the BBC reports.
In a statement, Ryanair said all of its flights scheduled to depart Irish airports in Thursday and Friday would operate as normal.