Ryanair pilots’ trade union detriment case over first hurdle


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Ryanair pilots who saw their staff travel benefits removed after they took part in a strike in 2019 will have their case heard at a full employment tribunal hearing.

Twenty-nine pilots, who are members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), claimed they were “blacklisted” by Ryanair after they chose to go on strike in 2019 in a disagreement over pensions, pay, allowances and other benefits.

In their tribunal claim, the pilots argue that they had their staff travel benefits revoked in retaliation for striking.

They say that the threatened and actual removal of those benefits was unlawful under the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 and contravened their right to not be subjected to detriment for taking part in trade union activities.

Following a two-day preliminary hearing, an employment tribunal rejected Ryanair’s arguments that its actions were lawful, with the tribunal finding the legislation relied upon by the airline did not apply in this case.

It also rejected Ryanair’s attempt to re-argue that the strike action was unlawful. The airline attempted to obtain an injunction from the High Court shortly before the strike took place in August 2019, but failed.

The case will continue to a full employment tribunal hearing at a later date.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said:  “This is a landmark legal decision, the effects of which go beyond Ryanair and the airline industry to the trade union movement as a whole.

“In particular, by ruling that the claimants were taking part in trade union activities by going on strike, the tribunal has fired a loud warning shot across the bows of employers who try to punish employees for striking by subjecting them to detrimental treatment.”

“The 29 members bringing the claim continue to have the complete and unfaltering support of Balpa and should know that 10,000 Balpa members stand behind them in solidarity.”

Ryanair has been contacted for comment.

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