European pilot group demands action over Ryanair sick leave policy

By Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin DUBLIN (Reuters) - The European Cockpit Association (ECA) pilot group has urged regulators to take action over what it described as a 'safety hazard' caused by Ryanair's approach to flight crews' sick leave, according to a letter seen by Reuters. Europe's largest budget carrier has spent the last two years negotiating improved pay and conditions with its pilots and cabin crew after a revolt by some staff forced it to recognise trade unions for the first time

Reuters November 15, 2019 02:07:44 IST
European pilot group demands action over Ryanair sick leave policy

European pilot group demands action over Ryanair sick leave policy

By Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The European Cockpit Association (ECA) pilot group has urged regulators to take action over what it described as a "safety hazard" caused by Ryanair's approach to flight crews' sick leave, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Europe's largest budget carrier has spent the last two years negotiating improved pay and conditions with its pilots and cabin crew after a revolt by some staff forced it to recognise trade unions for the first time.

The ECA, which represents pilots' associations in 33 European countries, said Ryanair adopts a practice of systematically questioning absences due to certified sickness, leading to investigative and disciplinary meetings where staff are threatened with potential dismissal.

Asked about the ECA's concerns, a Ryanair spokeswoman said the airline operates "a standard sick pay scheme, and like all employers, manages absenteeisms".

The airline, which has never had a fatal crash and has one of the youngest fleets in Europe, regularly cites safety as its top priority.

The ECA said it raised the issue with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) a year ago but that Ryanair's "problematic approach" to flight crew's sickness has not substantially changed.

"In fact, we are concerned that the safety hazard created by this approach remains fully in place, must be considered endemic, and quite evidently is not adequately addressed by the competent national authority: the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA)," the letter dated Nov. 5 said.

A spokeswoman for the ECA confirmed it had sent such a letter to the regulator, the second in a year, and that it was concerned that the safety hazard related to Ryanair's policy remains unaddressed.

In the letter, the ECA said it was aware that the EASA raised the matter with the IAA following the initial complaint but that the Irish regulator told one of the ECA's member groups that it was satisfied there was not a systematic issue of crews flying while unfit due to fear of sanction at Ryanair.

The IAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Citing letters sent to staff, the ECA said Ryanair or broker agencies overseeing agency workers used by the airline have gone as far as threatening to halt pilots' career progression, due to their sickness rate.

The pilot group called on the European regulator to ensure the IAA adequately fulfils its safety oversight role by summoning Ryanair to stop the practice of intimidating letters and investigative proceedings and also carry out an independent confidential survey among Ryanair crew.

(Editing by Giles Elgood)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Intel seeks $10 billion in subsidies for European chip plant
News & Analysis

Intel seeks $10 billion in subsidies for European chip plant

By Douglas Busvine BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) -Intel wants 8 billion euros ($9.7 billion) in public subsidies towards building a semiconductor factory in Europe, its CEO was cited as saying on Friday, as the region seeks to reduce its reliance on imports amid a shortage of supplies. The pitch is the first time Pat Gelsinger has publicly put a figure on how much state aid he would want, as Intel pursues a multibillion-dollar drive to take on Asian rivals in contract manufacturing. "What we're asking from both the U.S

China's Ximalaya, Qiniu file for U.S. IPOs
News & Analysis

China's Ximalaya, Qiniu file for U.S. IPOs

(Reuters) -Ximalaya, backed by China's Tencent Holdings, filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States on Friday, cashing in on growing demand as more people tune in to podcasts while staying at home during the pandemic. China's Qiniu Ltd, a cloud-based platform-as-a-service provider backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, also filed paperwork for a U.S. IPO

Donerail pushes gaming headset maker Turtle Beach to explore a sale - sources
News & Analysis

Donerail pushes gaming headset maker Turtle Beach to explore a sale - sources

By Greg Roumeliotis (Reuters) - Donerail Group, an investment firm led by former activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP executive Will Wyatt, has amassed a stake in Turtle Beach Corp and is pushing the maker of gaming headsets to explore a sale, people familiar with the matter said on Friday. The move represents a bet that Turtle Beach could attract acquisition interest from peers such as Corsair Gaming Inc and GN Store Nord A/S, as the video game market continues to benefit from people looking for entertainment options at home during the COVID-19 pandemic