Ryanair has reached an agreement with its pilots in Ireland which will restore the 20% pay cuts the airline made during the Covid pandemic.
The four-year compensation deal will also see low single-digit percentage increases for pilots in the carrier’s home country over the next three fiscal years through March 2027.
The settlement means that Ryanair has now reached a pay deal with unions across Europe, apart from Belgium.
Ryanair cut wages during the pandemic, but retained more staff than at other carriers – partly because many were already employed on more flexible or seasonal contracts, dependent on flight pay.
This allowed it to grow in the summer of 2022, when many competitors were forced to make cancellations and widespread reductions in their schedules as they could not recruit quickly enough to meet demand once the restrictions travel waived by governments after the Omicron variant.
However, pay for Ryanair staff has been restored to pre-pandemic levels somewhat more slowly than that of the chief executive, with Michael O’Leary’s salary returning to just under €1m ($880m). pounds sterling) in 2021-22.
Around 6% of pilots’ pay in Ireland was restored in July, with the remaining 14% to bring it back to 2019 levels now back in their December pay packages.
The deal came after months of negotiations with the Fórsa union over a long-term deal, with the company concluding with all but Ireland and Belgium earlier this summer. The Irish Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was called in to mediate after talks reached an impasse in October.
The union will now vote for members to ratify the deal, but has recommended that they accept.
Ryanair’s human resources director, Darrell Hughes, said: “We welcome this pay restoration agreement with Fórsa and our Irish pilots which will see pay cuts previously agreed during Covid reinstated in the December payroll, in time for Christmas.
“This agreement, which includes annual pay increases for the next four years, now brings our Irish pilots into line with similar pay restoration agreements reached with our other pilot unions across Europe over the past nine months. .
“We are grateful for the help of the WRC in reaching this sensible agreement with Fórsa and our Irish drivers.”
Fórsa’s deputy general secretary, Ian McDonnell, said: “The new collective agreement provides for improved pay and safety for pilots over the next four years, and preparations for a vote by our members on the terms of this proposed agreement are now underway.”
Ryanair only recognized the unions for the first time five years ago, a surprise decision given the antipathy previously expressed by O’Leary.
Cabin crew in Spain staged a series of strikes this summer, which the airline said caused little disruption.