Irish Ryanair pilots have joined their UK counterparts in voting for strike action in a dispute over pay.

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) claims 94 per cent of pilots who participated in the ballot voted in favour of industrial action, though the union has not announced any strike dates.

The union, which is a branch of Forsa, said it would write to Ryanair to outline plans for the walk-out unless the airline agrees to a pay proposal put forward by IALPA in late March.

Forsa claimed the carrier “is in a healthy financial position and can fairly reward its pilots”.

But the strike warning comes just over a week after Ryanair announced it would have to cut up to 900 pilot and cabin crew jobs due to overstaffing, Brexit concerns and a delay in deliveries of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

The airline posted a 21 per cent drop in profits for the first quarter, though it still made €243 million in profit in the three months to 30 June.

Forsa assistant general secretary Ian McDonnell commented: “Ryanair’s directly-employed Irish-based pilots are simply seeking pay levels that are common and competitive in the commercial airline sector, from a company that made a more-than-healthy profit of €1 billion last year.

“They feel they have been forced into contemplating potentially disruptive industrial action by a company that seem either unwilling or unable to negotiate in a professional and constructive manner. At this stage, only a substantive counter-proposal, which properly addresses all areas of our claim, will be enough to prevent us serving notice of industrial action next week.”

Responding to IALPA’s warning, Ryanair claimed the ballot result represented less than a quarter of its Irish pilots and therefore has “no valid mandate”.

It said pilots had received a pay increase of up to 20 per cent this year and last year following the airline’s agreement to recognise unions. The carrier also claimed Forsa has not outlined specific pay proposals for more than six months.

The threat follows an announcement by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) that Ryanair’s UK pilots will stage two strikes in a similar pay and conditions row – from 0001 on 22 August until 2359 on 23 August, and again from 0001 on 2 September until 2359 on 4 September.

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