View Full Version : BALPA recognition at Ryanair

Juan Tego
23rd Jun 2001, 07:15
Anti-flash suit on, eyes closed, deep breath and JUMP!

A Worms Eye View

The attraction of Ryanair as an employer is predominantly the fact that it is a dynamic, low cost, no nonsense operator who is taking on its competitors and beating them in the European short-haul market.

The company seems to recognise that in order to achieve its commercial objectives it must ensure it has a stable, hard working pilot workforce, which is both well motivated and well rewarded.

These are the assumptions which brought me to the company.

The company would, no doubt, be keen to reduce the cost of its pilots, however market forces will make sure this not going to be possible in the immediate future.

There is already in place statutory protection from excessive fatigue and an agreement to protect our quality of life. It is therefore only natural that the company is keen to retain as much flexibility as remains in the manner in which it utilises its pilots.

“If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!”

In both DUB and STN we have strong ERCs which are there to represent our views as a workforce. The current position has been negotiated by them and their work is vital to try and ensure company/pilot harmony. Not always an easy task.

The issues which the ERCs contest should be those which effect the pilot workforce as a whole. Individual issues should be discussed directly between the company and the individual (and his professional rep if appropriate). If there is likely to be wider implications for the pilot body arising from an individual issue then naturally there will be ERC involvement.

Simple enough so far.

Recognition – What’s in it for us?

If I’ve read my BALPA literature correctly (yes – I am a member!) they state that company pilots elected by BALPA members will represent those members to the company. These elected officers will have the benefit of advice from the full time BALPA staff in order to assist in resolving issues.

Non BALPA members go either un-represented or there remains in place an ERC to put forward their views.

Not quite so simple.

So we get advice to sort out our own problems. – How much will this cost?

In simple terms: 1% of salary of members. I’m not going to try to be exact, but assuming 60 pilot members (approx. 50%) earning on average 35k pa this is 21000. This seems an awful lot of money to spend in order to achieve less representative cover and a possible division of representative effort and interests.

Why the push for recognition from BALPA?

Because we are a down-trodden, exploited workforce which needs assistance in our self defence.
Oh! And 21k per year.

This worms view.

I’ll keep paying my 0.8% membership fee in order to have the call on union expertise if I need it.
I’ll support the ERC, a united workforce is a strong one.
I’ll do my best to ensure the company achieves its commercial objectives.
And I’ll oppose the recognition of BALPA unless a full ballot of pilots shows a majority in favour.

What do YOU think?

Bug Up
23rd Jun 2001, 15:56
"The company would, no doubt, be keen to reduce the cost of its pilots, however market forces will make sure this not going to be possible in the immediate future."

What about the CRL captains? How long before more pilots are forced onto lower saleries to gain promotion.

23rd Jun 2001, 19:30
We need Balpa we are getting big.


23rd Jun 2001, 21:23
A pilot gets invited to an interview and provided both sides are happy the pilot finds himself flying an aircraft for which he gets paid. What's so difficult about that? Why do some insist on changing things that they were happy about when they joined?

I'm sure I'm about to be enlightened!!!

24th Jun 2001, 01:39
Check your sums Juan,

Balpa take less than a tenner off me every month and I am exactly in the bracket you discussed.

Methinks that 60x12x10=7200 and not 21000.

Let's try and avoid over-exaggeration shall we?

24th Jun 2001, 05:14
1% is Bu**er all, stop being so tight and start thinking about the industry as a whole.

Juan Tego
25th Jun 2001, 04:59
Bug Up

The CRL issue was appallingly handled by the company. If those fellas had known that there would be a change to their contracts before they started command training then it would be different. As it was they were ambushed and IMHO they were very courageous in the action they took.


35k is a guess at the average salary on the flightdeck.
60 x 1% = 60%.
60% of 35k = 21k
If anything this is an under estimation.


Since when did BALPA look after the industry as a whole?

My chief concern is the representation issue. Am I alone in worrying about the company exploiting the "divide and conquer" option?

25th Jun 2001, 15:44
Every pilot flying in EU airspace is in some way benifiting from work BALPA has been involved in, and if more people got off the fence and joined the union, we would all be in a far stronger position. And to the guy's involved in the CRL issue, yes you were very brave and you deserve the support of every pilot in England and Ireland. If only they would all show this support.

Non union members.....You are the weekest link....Goodbye.

25th Jun 2001, 16:09

Well when you get "promoted" and shipped off to the next base with your new upgrade bond in one pocket and you new "lower salary" contract in the other I'll be right beside you laughing my ass off ..just before i cry

25th Jun 2001, 16:41
You say that being in a union is an attractive option and a strong union is good.

Could you please give examples in the last 25 years which show that this is the case. The members maybe have a year or 2 when things are good but eventually the company normally becomes unprofitable and loses its market share.

To be honest i think the non union members are the strongest link becuase it stops the militant union reps running the company instead of the managment.

I have left 2 jobs now because union activity was becoming very strong. Thankgod i did because it meant that i was on the job market and got a decent job before the union workers arrived and saturated it after the works had to do a major reorganisation, sacking half of them.


25th Jun 2001, 21:22
Dear Mad Jock,

I cant count the number of times the Management in my last company tried to break the pilot agreement, and how BALPA managed to save the day.

The reason they lost market share is because the Management were utterly useless. They had NO idea of Marketing, and not a clue how to run an airline business. Their demise had NOTHING to do with BALPA or the pilots.

And this, I suspect applies to a lot of the old style of airlines...which in my opinion is the only reason why Ryanair is doing as well as they are. Had B.A. been leaner and a lot more agressive 10 years ago, Ryanair would never had had the chance to get a foot in the market.

But their demise has NOTHING to do with BALPA or its pilots being members!!!

25th Jun 2001, 21:33
Dear Juan Tego,

What planet are you living on? You obviously weren't in the Company when the first draft of the 'argeement' was first put to the pilots, and it was only the threat of STRIKE by the IALPA members that got it rewritten and something close to reasonable.

I look forward to the day it is your turn to be upgraded to Captain, you have done all your assessments, and then you are told you will be sent to some god-foresaken hole in the middle of no-where on an 'undisclosed' salary, that we all know will be a lot LESS than it should be, and a lot LESS than any other Captain in the company, and in YOUR case the bond has now gone up to 15,000. And you can't request transfer, in YOUR case, for at least 2 YEARS....


I look forward to seeing how YOU negotiate this one 'one on one' with MOL. United in the union of BALPA we stand. Divided with the ERC of no teeth, we collapse, and watch our pay, terms, conditions & lifestyle dissolve before our very eyes. Ask the Charleroi guys......

26th Jun 2001, 00:24
Juan tego, you are being very, very nieve.
Mad jock, I don't think your arguement is very sound. In fact I don't think you could "NAME" a single company that was brought down by pilots or their union alone. However I think I can name a few Airlines where the union has had a significant impact, BA, United, American, Delta, ..etc etc.. do I need to go on.
I also think BLOGG hit the nail on the head, "UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL."

26th Jun 2001, 00:52
Fair enough carry on as you like. Just remember its someones human right not to get involved with a union if they don't want to.
And as outside the aviation industry there are many cases of United you stand and united you sink. I will let you get on with it and spend my 1% on some new swanky diving gear when i eventually get a job with associated pay drop.

Sorry this whole thread has reminded me of the carry on film about a toilet factory.


Juan Tego
26th Jun 2001, 01:04

If it happens that way then I will have chosen to accept the offer put in front of me. No tears.


You're correct, I am very new, perhaps you could tell me if IALPA has company recognition?

If the answer is yes: why does the management have such a problem with the recognition of BALPA?

If not, was it the toothless ERC which led the fight for the present agreement?

As I said in my origional post:
"If there is likely to be wider implications for the pilot body arising from an individual issue then naturally there will be ERC involvement." A 'one on one' over contracts is definitly off the board.


I am concerned about the belief that BALPA will be our saviour in times of strife, if the word 'naieve' is to be bandied about then this is where it should appear.

Regardless of BALPA recognition we will always be fighting our own battles. BALPA do not step in to do the dirty work for us, they provide advice.

Moreover once the union is recognised then we become resricted by stautory regulations concerning the way in which we can apply pressure. You can rest assured that BALPA will be right along side management in trying to stop any action we feel is necessary because its their wallet which is on the line.

I don't really want to pay an extra 0.2% in order to rot in a 'frozen' STN base.

26th Jun 2001, 02:18
Dear Juan Tego,

No disrespect, but do us all a big favour. Please go do your research before you go shooting your mouth off in an open forum like this one.

I would STRONGLY suggest you speak to the ERC representatives in STN who will fill you in on what has happened in the recent past, how the ERC was roasted by our beloved management recently, and how it was our colleagues in IALPA who stood united and managed to get us out of the hole we nearly fell in in October/November last year. NO, IALPA is not recognised by the Company. It has taken until now for enough pilots to get so fed up with the abuse of management at Ryanair that we all now have joined BALPA. And now BALPA & IALPA have over a 50% membership, the Company has no legal alternative BUT to recognise the union. THEN maybe we can stop this erosion of of pay, terms, conditions, & lifestyle!! The ERC has no teeth. They NEED them to negotiate with our selfish management. BALPA will help.

There is a meeting of the ERC in STN on Thursday. Please go to it, ask a few questions, and WISE UP.

Dear Mad Jock,

I am not suggesting you don't have the right not to join. We all have the freedom of choice. I am just suggesting that instead of sitting in the left seat of the 800 taking your fat salary, you should perhaps be looking at that poor bugger sitting next to you, who can't afford NOT to fly at Ryanair, (because his basic salary is so low), who wants a career, and not watch his job constantly being given away to yet another Direct Entry Captain and ask yourself....

IS WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CHARLEROI 5 FAIR & REASONABLE?? How would you feel if it was you??

Because maybe next time it just might be. You may not care...you may have enough stashed away already to retire..."Im alright Jock". But you should care about your colleagues, who would do the same for you.

This is not a time to be interested in our own selfish agenda, like a few of our managers who have to prove their personal worth to MOL. It is time to protect and improve the total package for all of us, so we can ALL have a career at Ryanair, without having to seek altenative career advancement elsewhere.

26th Jun 2001, 02:52
Sorry unfortunatly i am not one of those 800 captains i am not even a FO yet.
I am currently an IT contractor working in europe mid way through my ATPL, IR in November, hence the salary drop and hopefully a drop in working hours as well. And i wouldn't mind a FO's job with ryanair beggars can't be choosers. And as i have lived for the last 2 years 120kms away from Charleroi and drive through there regularly for work, i wouldn't mind working there. You can be getting pissed in soho 2.5 hrs after leaving Brussels if you want to. Or a weekend in the alps for 5 hrs drive.

My main problem is the aggression that has been used to anyone who has talked about joining or not joining. To be honest i had sent off for the union pack as a trainee. But between the 2 of you with your open aggression against none union members i think i will be avoiding having people with similar views representing me.

Sorry but you have done more harm for the union cause than good. All i associate the union with now is the socialist worker lot who constantly annoy me when i visit Glasgow trying to sell me that stupid newspaper. You may have some valid points about T&C's etc but your method of presenting your points sucks.


Juan Tego
26th Jun 2001, 05:44

Steady on big Fella!

1. If the IALPA pilots managed to sort out the last issue did any of them stand in the latest ERC elections? It sounds as though they showed the type of balls needed for the job! What was IALPAs contribution?

2. If the last issue was resolved (without IALPA recognition) to the satisfaction of the majority of pilots, then I would say thats a pretty strong case for the status quo.

As for the personal stuff: We're in the same boat, only I'm nearer the waterline so naturally have a more limited view. Your point about research is a fair one but being new to the company makes the sourcing of reliable info a bit of a minefield - hence this discussion.

If you would like to keep this out of the forum my @ddress is in my profile, would you mail me with some more background, and a few hints about reliable sources.

26th Jun 2001, 21:48
Sorry guys, but I agree with BLOGG

IALPA is strong here in DUBLIN, but company does not recognise it, even though 95% of the pliots are members of IALPA. It was the threat of the strike that changed the last agreement

You guys in Stanstead need SOME kind of protection, even if only legal, say in the case of an accident or incident

The union does a lot for us on the safety issue side as well, like flight time limitations

FO Nigetrussoxide
28th Jun 2001, 14:32
anychance one of you could provide an update? - please describe the outcome of the CRL situation.

29th Jun 2001, 13:13
The way I see things is like is, BALPA membership is in general a good thing, however when Ryanair says that recognition will lead to base growth including command positions going else where you have to believe them. Just look at their track record, this is the company who froze all growth in Dublin, Manchester and pulled out of Rimini for reasons that made no commercial sense. Any move which will encourage them to move new aircraft and routes out of the UK is a bad thing. We currently have a five year deal and all the union recognition in the world wont change that. In fact I can’t see how BALPA will be able to effect conditions in Germany, Russia or wherever the new bases will be. So while I plan to remain a member of BALPA I don’t believe that recognition by Ryanair will benefit me in any way at the moment.

29th Jun 2001, 14:34
Question: Would freezing the STN base really work for Ryanair?

Answer: BALPA get regognition; Ryanair freeze STN; FOs start leaving (which will happen anyway); Where will they recruit FOs from when there are no longer any command prospects?

29th Jun 2001, 18:19
They can't expand at STN anymore anyway, because there aren't anymore slots.

So the 'freeze' STN and blame it on BALPA recognition.

The reason you need to get BALPA recognition is because in future whatever the ERC agrees with the Management has a LEGAL standing, and if the Management breach the agreements, there is a LEGAL recourse of action. Right now, it doesn't matter a jot WHAT the agreement says, the Management have already & will continue to break the agreement, and there isn't a damn thing you or I or the ERC can do about it.