UK-based Ryanair pilots authorize 2 strikes over next month

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Stansted-based airline Ryanair will try to reach a deal with unions later - to avoid pilot strikes later this summer.

Pilots at the budget airline, Ryanair, have voted to strike because of a dispute over pay and conditions.

Four-fifths of votes backed a strike on a 72% turnout, according to the union, though Ryanair said the numbers represent a minority of its United Kingdom crews.

Pilots union BALPA authorised strikes on 22 and 23 August, and 2 September to 4 September, in a move that could see operations grind to a halt at the Irish airline's biggest single base and cause a fresh round of chaos for beleaguered Britons.

Balpa's Brian Strutton said: 'No pilot wants to spoil the public's travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice'. It was not clear whether BALPA would try and coordinate the strikes for maximum impact, or issue them on separate dates to minimize disruption.

The union said its grievance covers issues "including pensions; loss of license insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure".

In December 2017, Ryanair reversed its long-standing policy of not recongising pilot trade unions in a bid to avert threatened strike action.

Following a ballot, 80% of pilots voted to take industrial action.

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The latest developments come as the airline has warned that 900 jobs are at risk at the company.

Mr O'Leary told its staff it has 500 more pilots and 400 more cabin crew than required and job losses will be announced in the coming weeks.

The airline argues that no pilots should be threatening to strike at a time when Ryanair has already warned it could lay off 500 pilots company-wide amid weak fares, Boeing aircraft delays and potential economic shocks if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on October 31.

"Balpa have no mandate to disrupt our customers' holidays and flights, particularly at a time when United Kingdom pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no deal Brexit on 31 October", Ryanair said.

Last year, pilot strikes led to hundreds of flight cancellations across Europe.

Pilots will strike later this month on the 22nd and 23rd of August.

'We hope Balpa will now work with Ryanair to minimise job losses instead of undertaking ill-judged and ill-timed industrial action'.

They say they have written to BALPA asking for fresh talks.

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