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Ryanair enews 19 May 2020

Ryanair's "proposal" & BeCA's reply

Dear colleagues,

Following our letter of 14 May, Ryanair sent us the following response. As you can see, the tone and words chosen imply that BeCA does not want to cooperate with them in order to find a solution to the crisis. These claims are obviously completely wrong and unacceptable.

In this letter, Ryanair also gave us a new deadline, 19 May, to agree or disagree with their proposal, a five-year CLA which includes a 20% salary cut, no indexation, increased productivity, additional flexibility on rosters, etc. It must be stressed that no job protection guarantee is given in exchange for these conditions. If we accept, Ryanair risks cutting jobs anyway. The only guarantee is a return to the 2020 level of salary in March 2025 (excluding indexation, which basically means 12,6% lower salary).

The letter goes on and threatens that if we don't agree with this, they might have to fire up to 44 pilots in Belgium - a usual Ryanair tactic, which we know too well.

Here is our standpoint, as outlined in the letter we sent Mr Hughes today:

  • The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, BeCA is fully aware of that, but there will be an end to it. And Ryanair will most likely be one of the big winners of the after-crisis, as they have themselves admitted at their shareholders' meeting on 18 May. Therefore, the solution to a temporary over crewing should be job sharing until the situation resumes to normal. One of the possible solutions would be to put everyone on 75% part-time contract until operations fully resume, instead of firing 44 pilots (+- 25% of the total pilot force).
  • BeCA's absolute priority is to preserve as many jobs as possible and, if layoffs are unavoidable, ensure terms and conditions are fair and Belgian law properly implemented. Indeed, if they really want to fire 44 pilots, they are legally required to initiate the Renault procedure, which aims to find all possible solutions to minimise job losses. Nothing has been said on their part on that.
  • BeCA believes that their proposal is unfair. They are asking pilots to concede 20% of their salary over 5 years, while O'Leary has agreed to make an effort on his wage for only 1 year. Plus, the presentation of Ryanair's financial results to the shareholders' meeting clearly shows that Ryanair is in a good financial position and states that their level of "liquidity will enable the Group to weather Covid-19 and emerge stronger when the crisis passes" (Ryanair has reported a 13% profit increase between March 2019 and March 2020). Claiming that if pilots don't agree with their proposal, the airline's survival is at risk is therefore completely false.
  • On a not so anecdotal level, their proposal also includes a decrease of the new entrants' wages, which contradicts their whole argument: why care about the new entrants' wages while you claim that there is a surplus of 44 pilots?

For all these reasons, we strongly believe that their proposal is unacceptable and is merely another way of bypassing their obligations under the CLAs that have been signed and go back to the 2018 working and salary conditions. We won't allow that. In our response, we therefore present counter-proposals, which should be discussed in accordance with Belgian labor law.

Best regards,

Your BeCA Ryanair Coordination group

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