By David Learmount in London

System to pool resources and offer pan-European support in place for EasyJet crews, as BALPA targets Ryanair

The European Cockpit Association (ECA) has set up a system for representing pilots’ interests across multiple-base pan-European airlines. This has already been arranged for EasyJet crews, says the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA), and the organisation has set its sights on doing the same for Ryanair pilots.

BALPA general secretary Jim McAuslan says “there is no European employment law which is portable [across national borders], even though there are [pan-European] corporate laws”. EasyJet has 16 bases in Europe where the crew are either hired locally or are expatriates living there, but all of them are on a contract drawn up under UK employment law.

BALPA chairman Capt Mervyn Granshaw says: “This ground-breaking agreement will allow British, French, German and Italian pilots’ associations to pool their resources and provide enhanced professional support to EasyJet flightcrew [in their respective countries].” The agreement has been arranged “under the ECA umbrella”, says the UK association, but because all the pilots are on British contract, BALPA will be the link organisation regarding contract issues, and the local pilots’ union will have the necessary knowledge of national conditions and employment law to be able to assist pilots at the mainland Europe bases.

EasyJet says it is happy with the arrangement. “What we did not want was multiple pilot representation, dealing with German unions in Germany and French unions in France and so on,” says communications director Toby Nicol.

Ryanair, also with 16 European bases, is a BALPA target for a similar pilot representation model, says McAuslan, despite the fact that the carrier refuses to recognise any pilot organisation. Each Ryanair pilot is hired on an individual local contract, says the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA). McAuslan says this is a good time to present the Ryanair pilots with a potential representation system, adding that the recent near-total rejection of a new pay and conditions offer from the airline was a sign that “the Ryanair pilot community has decided that enough is enough”.

Source: Flight International