UK-based cabin crew accounting for a quarter of Ryanair’s fleet have gained union recognition for the first time.

The agreement with Unite will see the union become the representative body for Ryanair directly employed cabin crew in the UK.

The deal follows the budget carrier’s first cabin crew recognition deal with Italian unions. It secures full consultation rights and collective bargaining for UK cabin crew.

The latest agreement is the result of “extensive negotiations” with Unite and covers around 650 cabin crew flying from  airports inclusing Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Stansted, Luton, Manchester and Prestwick.

Three Unite representatives who will form a negotiating committee will be given paid rostered time off to fulfil their union duties in representing Unite members at the airline.

Unite represents more than 25,000 cabin crew working for airlines operating out of the UK.

The union will now be seeking to secure similar agreements covering the remaining Ryanair cabin crew who are indirectly employed to work for the airline via employment agencies.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This is a historic agreement and a significant step by Ryanair. For the first time ever Ryanair’s UK cabin crew will have a recognised union in their corner to deal with workplace issues and collectively bargain on pay.

“I’d urge all UK-based Ryanair cabin crew to join Unite and be part of one the biggest trade unions in the world representing airline workers.

“I would like to thank all those involved in securing this agreement which shows what can be achieved by patient, determined negotiation.

“Over the coming days and weeks Unite will be seeking similar agreements with the employment agencies which indirectly employ the remainder of Ryanair’s UK cabin crew.

“Unite looks forward to building a positive relationship with Ryanair that benefits passengers and workers alike.”

Ryanair chief people officer Eddie Wilson said: “This is a further sign of the progress Ryanair is making with trade unions since our December 2017 decision to recognise them.

“We hope to announce further agreements over the coming weeks, in those countries where unions have approached these negotiations in a practical and positive manner.

“We are making less progress in some smaller countries where minor issues such as days off for union officials are unnecessarily delaying agreements.

“However, as this growing number of pilot and cabin crew recognition agreements confirms, we are making progress and confounding those sceptics who claimed that our December 2017 decision was not real or genuine.

“We look forward to working closely with both Unite and their company council to address issues of concern to our UK-based cabin crew.”