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Historic step for Ryanair pilots & their unions

Coordination & cooperation agreement lays foundation for a Transnational Pilot Group

Ryanair pilots continue to write history – this time with the support and under the coordination of pilot associations from across Europe.

A new ambitious protocol, setting up the Ryanair Transnational Pilot Group (RTPG), was adopted unanimously, on 17 March, during an ECA Conference in Luxembourg. With this new protocol pilot associations and their Ryanair Company Councils join forces to achieve their aims, such as: direct permanent employment contracts subject to local law, equal & transparent career opportunities across the network, and effective collective representation for all Ryanair pilots regardless of country or base. The protocol also establishes the RTPG as being the primary Ryanair pilot body for all transnational matters.

Pilot associations RTPG
Pilot associations signing the RTPG Protocol on 17 March 2018

The pilots of Ryanair have shown that with immense will and unity, employees can successfully regain their position at the bargaining table

“The world is watching Ryanair’s pilots as they strive for decent and fair working conditions. And rightly so! Precarious atypical employment and denied labour rights are not only a trend in aviation but a phenomenon that is aggressively spreading, both in Europe and worldwide. The pilots of Ryanair have shown that with immense will and unity, employees can successfully regain their position at the bargaining table – this is excellent news”, says ECA President Dirk Polloczek.

Since Ryanair’s cancellation crisis in Sept. 2017, a grassroots initiative of self-organising spread across Europe and led pilots to join trade unions in large numbers. They established official Company Councils, designed to facilitate and formalise negotiations in line with national legal and social requirements. For the first time, Ryanair pilots spoke up openly about their concerns and demands. Addressing their management as union members – as well as strike threats in several countries – finally ended three decades of union hostility in the airline.

“The announcement of union recognition that followed from Ryanair was no ‘revolution’, but a long overdue necessity to finally listen to and engage with its own pilots who are so crucial to the airline’s success.” says ECA Secretary General Philip von Schöppenthau. “It is now up to Ryanair to join its pilots on their path and recognise their collective voice on the many transnational issues and concerns they share. The setting up of this transnational pilot group is a clear signal to Ryanair management to engage in constructive and meaningful social dialogue both at national and at transnational level.”


The Ryanair announcement of union recognition was no ‘revolution’, but a long overdue necessity to finally listen to & engage with its own pilots

The new RTPG will allow ECA Member Associations from across Europe and their Ryanair Company Councils to pool resources, legal, political and technical know-how, as well as decades of experience in constructive social dialogue and collective bargaining.

“The Ryanair pilots can now look forward to working together in the RTPG. Only in addressing their challenges and those they share with their employer collectively can they ensure a socially sustainable future for the company, its passengers, and employees alike” concluded Dirk Polloczek.

More information:

Note to editors: ECA is the representative body of over 38,000 pilots from across Europe,
striving for the highest levels of aviation safety and fostering social rights and quality employment for pilots in Europe. Our Website: 

For further information, please contact Capt. Dirk Polloczek, ECA President  or Philip von Schöppenthau, ECA Secretary General Tel: +32 2 705 32 93 & visit our Media Room