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Ryanair promises pilots job security, better pay than rivals

Recently, the Irish airline announced cancellation of thousands of flights saying it didn't have enough standby pilots to ensure smooth operation of its schedule

Reuters  |  Dublin 

File photo of travellers wait in front of a passenger jet belonging to Irish discount airline Ryanair at Charleroi airport in southern Belgium. Photo: Reuters
File photo of travellers wait in front of a passenger jet belonging to Irish discount airline Ryanair at Charleroi airport in southern Belgium. Photo: Reuters

on Thursday promised its significant improvements in and conditions, saying it would exceed rates paid by rivals and improve job security, according to a letter to seen by Reuters.

The Irish airline, the largest in by passenger numbers, has in recent weeks announced the cancellation of thousands of flights, saying it did not have enough standby to ensure the smooth operation of its schedule.

The move has sparked customer outrage and a wage of negative media coverage across

Unions have said a significant number of have left in recent months to get more secure contracts, better and improved at

last week said reports it had a pilot shortage were false, saying less than 260 of its 4,200 had left so far this year and that it was in the process of hiring 650 more.

On Thursday Chief Executive Michael O'Leary sent a three-page letter to its promising "significant improvements to your rosters, your pay, your basing, your contracts and your career progression over the next 12 months."

The letter, addressed to "all pilots", said would "beat" the and offered by fellow Boeing 737 operators and

He repeated a promise to increase pilots' by between 5,000 euros ($5,856) and 10,000 euros per year at four key bases and to negotiate with at other bases about increases. He also pledged to offer a loyalty bonus of between 6,000 and 12,000 euros for still employed at the airline in 12 months' time.

But he added a new offer to match local employment where they differ from the Irish contracts under which all work, another key demand of the

Changes to the roster systems would mean that "your days off will really mean days off," he added.

The mirror demands made in a letter by at a number of Ryanair's 86 bases last month. While does not recognize trade unions, have been using social media to organise in recent months.

The often outspoken O'Leary, who last month said he "would challenge any pilot to explain how this is a difficult job," praised his in the letter, describing them as "the best in the business."

He said the critical comments made at last month's annual general meeting had been misreported and were specifically directed at of competitor airlines and their unions.

First Published: Fri, October 06 2017. 17:10 IST
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