Ryanair and the Irish pilots’ union look set to meet for talks next week in a bid to avert a pre-Christmas strike.The airline has offered to recognise trade unions for the first time after pilots in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal threatened walkouts.While some unions agreed to suspend action, the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association wanted more clarification.And an IALPA official warned the talks may come too late to halt a strike.Ryanair said on Saturday that it would meet the German pilots’ union for talks on Wednesday.The airline’s chief operations officer, Peter Bellew, confirmed the planned meetings in a social media post on Saturday, saying “let’s keep talking”.The Irish union responded on Sunday that it would be “happy to do that”. However, it is unclear which day the two side will meet.Ryanair in union offer to avoid strikesRyanair pilots to strike before ChristmasNiall Shanahan, a spokesman for Impact, a union to which IALPA is affiliated, said: “We indicated to Ryanair that we were happy to meet them on Wednesday, but we would not be in a position to consider suspending the scheduled industrial action until we met them.”Mr Shanahan, speaking on Ireland’s Today FM radio station, added: “They suggested a meeting on Tuesday evening, and again we are happy to do that, but similarly, we are not in a position to consider the stages of the industrial action until after we’ve met them.”He added: “The earlier we can meet the better.”The Dublin-based airline announced on Friday that it would recognise the unions “as long as they establish committees of Ryanair pilots… as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines”.It is the first time Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has extended such an invitation to union leaders in the 32 years the company has been flying.Britain’s Balpa union said on Saturday said it had accepted Ryanair’s offer to represent British-based pilots, but only if the TUC federation of British trade unions was allowed to attend future talks.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Friday’s announcement led to Italian pilots’ union Anpac and Portuguese union Spac calling off strike action due to take place next week. Pilots in Germany had voted to take industrial action some time during the Christmas period.German union Vereinigung Cockpit said the onus was now on Ryanair to “prove that this announcement is serious”.In Spain, there are no strikes planned for pilots but ground staff unions have not ruled out action on 30 December. In October, Mr O’Leary wrote to his airline’s pilots to offer them better pay and conditions after Ryanair was forced to cancel thousands of flights.The carrier admitted it had “messed up” the planning of its pilots’ holidays.