Instability at Ryanair

Ryanair is challenged by strikes in the UK and Spain, caught in failed mediation rounds in Ireland, left by the COO who was hired specifically to help with the transition to an unionized company and suing their own pilots for their decisions as union representatives. In this context, shareholders will be evaluating Ryanair’s actual progress on improving labor relations. Two years after the company pledged to “reward and interact” with its pilots and cabin crew, the labor unrest has not yet settled. Despite agreements signed with several unions – after protracted negotiations – Ryanair seems to be lacking a clear long-term strategy on how to create a genuine culture of social dialogue with its employees.

“Unionisation was not imposed on the airline – it was management’s choice,” says ECA Secretary General Philip von Schöppenthau. “It was also a choice to set an ambitious target to become a socially responsible employer. But when Ryanair pledged this, they raised the expectations of their own employees. And today – two years later – from their perspective, Ryanair has failed to deliver. The company is still far, far away from anything like stable labor relations across its network and from lasting industrial peace.”