Ryanair will seek to quell shareholder unrest amid calls for chief executive Michael O’Leary to be ousted at today’s agm over his handling of industrial relations.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association led pre-meeting calls on the airline’s shareholders to replace O’Leary and Ryanair chairman David Bonderman.
The recognised union for pilots employed by Ryanair in the UK said it was “compelled to raise an issue of paramount concern”.
Balpa claimed that the relationship between Ryanair management and its pilots had become “utterly dysfunctional” and this was putting at risk the continued success of the company.
“Regardless of claims that union recognition is improving employee relations, we are concerned that the approach epitomised under Michael O’Leary’s leadership over more than 20 years is unchanged,” the union said.
Europe’s largest low cost carrier has been affected by strikes across Europe this year despite efforts to recognise unions for the first time.
The industrial action has triggered investor concern, with a number planning to vote against the re-election of Bonderman at the agm in Ireland.
Ryanair agreed to recognise trade unions in December and said that it had reached deals with organisations representing about 60% of pilots and cabin crew across its network.
But Balpa general Secretary Brian Strutton said: “The industrial unrest in Ryanair across Europe and among pilots and cabin crew is, in my opinion, likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
“Ryanair’s announcement last December that they would recognise unions should have been the opportunity to make a break from the past but the trust in management isn’t there to support the words.
“For many pilots and cabin crew it seems to me that they do not believe in the intentions of Ryanair’s leaders and unfortunately Mr O’Leary is usually cited as the cause of this.
“I think that while he is still there as the embodiment of Ryanair’s values the distrust among many staff is likely to continue and with it the industrial unrest.”
Ryanair said it was confident that shareholders would back the airline at this morning’s meeting.
A spokesman said: “Ryanair shareholders will pass all agm resolutions by a large majority this year, including the nomination of directors and chairman, as they have done in all previous years.
“They appreciate how fortunate we are to have an outstanding chairman like David Bonderman guide the board and the airline.”
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