August 15, 2019 / 11:55 AM / 6 days ago

British pilots union calls on Ryanair for mediated talks as strikes loom

FILE PHOTO: Passengers board a Ryanair flight at the airport in Gdansk, Poland, June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) called on Ryanair (RYA.I) to meet for mediated talks to resolve a dispute on pay and benefits to avoid two multi-day strikes planned by their members from next week.

Ryanair staff unions in Ireland, Spain and Portugal have also announced plans to strike in the coming weeks, a year after an initial wave of strikes over pay and conditions forced it to cancel hundreds of flights and hit its profits.

Ryanair BALPA members, whom the airline said represent half of their British-based pilots, voted last week to stage a two-day strike from Aug. 22, and a second from the early hours of Sept. 2 until just before midnight on Sept. 4.

BALPA said it wanted to meet for talks at the independent ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). Mediated talks with the union representing directly employed pilots in Ireland broke down on Wednesday, ahead of a two-day Irish strike due to start on the same day next week.

“Our members’ experience of trying to negotiate directly with Ryanair management has not been good. However, BALPA is offering to hold talks under the auspices of ACAS to try to resolve this dispute and avoid the need for strike action,” BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said in a statement.

“If Ryanair cares about its customers they should join us.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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