A group of Ryanair pilots have rejected an offer of a £12,000 cash bonus from the company in exchange for agreeing to work on their days off over the coming months.
The airline has come under increasing pressure over the past week after it revealed that an issue with staff leave meant that thousands of flights would have to be cancelled.
A total of 315,000 passengers have been affected by the blunder, which has resulted in 2% of Ryanair services up to the end of October being axed.
The company’s colourful chief executive Michael O’Leary said on Monday that he took personal responsibility for the “mess” which he mainly attributed to the planning of pilot holidays.
Ryanair reportedly offered its pilots a tax-free bonus of £12,000 in exchange for agreeing to work extra days, in order to avoid having to cancel even more flights.
But one group, made up employee councils from 14 Ryanair bases across Europe, have sent a letter to the firm refusing the offer on several grounds.
Employee councils liaise with Ryanair on behalf of pilots and staff, as the company refuses recognise unions.
The bonus was apparently contingent on pilots having logged at least 800 flight hours over the course of the previous year, but the letter claims few pilots will meet this threshold.
The pilots also say the details around the offer are too vague, particularly with regards to the number of days off pilots who accept the bonus would have to give up in order to qualify for it.
But the group goes even further and informs Ryanair that the pilots based at a number of European airports will, with immediate effect, ‘work to rule’ – that is, fulfil the terms of their contracts but refuse any work above and beyond that.
“(We) rescind the goodwill that has been extended toward the company for many years, including working days off and turning up early,” the letter says.
The letter calls for Ryanair to engage with the pilots in order to agree better working conditions and new contract terms.
“The pilot market is changing and Ryanair will need to change the ways in which the pilots and management work together to ensure a stable and common future for everyone,” it says.
Ryanair is due to hold its AGM meeting with shareholders today, with Michael O’Leary expected to hold a press conference afterwards.