October 4th Interim EERC UPDATE
- THE INTERIM EERC
- ADRESSING THE URGE BY ERCS TO REACH OUT TO MANAGEMENT
1. THE INTERIM EERC
The EERC UPDATE message published Sunday October 1st on pilots-unite.com as well as in PDF- format has been met with positive reception. There have however been questions regarding the concept of the Interim EERC – What is it? Who are we? In order to answer these questions, let’s begin with a brief review of the past weeks.
A few weeks ago, a very large ERC WhatsApp group was created, with a very high number of participants. The participants are ERCs from all across the network as well as pilots from those bases that don’t have a current ERC representative. This group was essential to creating strong momentum for the whole pilot body. While many great ideas were brought to the floor, the large number of participants (80+) and the limitations of the communication medium made it increasingly difficult to focus on specific actions that needed to be taken. Further, parallel conversations were taking place simultaneously in other chat groups amongst pilots and external advisors. The positive note to take away is that for the first time since Ryanair became a multi-national airline, effective communication was carried out between representatives from across the network. That is a massive achievement in and of itself.
As weeks passed, some members of the ERC group chat became frustrated due to the lack of coordinated efforts, with the conversation moving mostly in circles. The representatives did, however, manage to engage a large number of the bases into signing the two letters sent to management. It became clear during this time that a smaller group of pilots needed to break away from the main conversation in order to achieve progress and ensure that all efforts were leading to the same final goal as outlined in the two letters.
This decision was based on the following recognised foundations:
- We need leadership in every individual base.
- We need leadership to coordinate our bases within countries.
- We need leadership to coordinate regionally.
- We need leadership to find focus for the entire pilot body
While this group has previously been referred to as The Central Committee, it shall now go under the name Interim EERC to highlight its non-permanent nature as a caretaker group until such time as conditions allow pilots to democratically elect their representation.
The Interim EERC are a small group of Ryanair pilots (no more than 12). We are drawn from many groups that have been, and still are, discussing on a daily basis. We strive to reflect the voices of those pilot groups . We are trying very hard to listen to the many voices being raised by pilots throughout the whole company. Finding out what pilots across the network are asking for is the easy part. How to achieve what we want is much harder, and requires a considerable amount of organising within a very large and diverse group.
The Interim EERC is not trying to replace the great work already done by the ERC group chat and other WhatsApp groups or to climb above the ERC representatives. We are simply trying to empower the ERCs in their roles as pilot representatives.
So to answer the questions from the first paragraph:
- What is the Interim EERC?
The Interim EERC is a group of pilots that have come together with the aim to organise the movement seeking a new, unified, structure for communicating and negotiating with management.
- Who are we?
We are Ryanair pilots just like yourselves, cumulatively having decades of experience flying Ryanair aircraft and bring knowledge, contacts and expertise in areas crucial to the movement.
2. ADDRESSING THE URGE BY ERCS TO REACH OUT TO MANAGEMENT
The Interim EERC have received reports from across the network that a small number of ERCs are planning to reach out to Ryanair management in order to explore “what the they have to offer” following the emails sent from management to the ERCs recently.
There have been no “offers” from management to any base. No base is losing out on a deal by not talking directly with management. By dealing directly with management a base can effectively give up any chance for long term change for themselves as well as their colleagues around the network.
By approaching management on a base by base level, pilots are giving up their only bargaining advantage: the unity achieved in the past weeks. By offering management the option to negotiate further agreements with individual bases, the strategy of Divide & Conquer is allowed to flourish. Individual ERCs are not trained negotiators. They have a very limited overview of company strategic goals and targets, and are highly likely to settle for a deal far from what could be achieved by negotiating as one unit with professional assistance.
If a base is feeling the urge to approach management for negotiations, the Interim EERC asks for pilots to first reach out to email@example.com for support.
The Interim EERC is not intended to replace the movement to seek Pilots Association organisation and support for the pilot body, but to work in parallel and partnership with such Associations.
Some bases have expressed a concern that due to local legislation, they could end up with an inferior deal should a common contract be negotiated across the network. This is based on an unfortunate misunderstanding from previous communications. At no time should a pilot be requested to sign a contract that offers a reduction in T&Cs compared to their current ones. All negotiated contracts will be opt-in. This will be one of the corner stones of future negotiations with management. IMPROVED conditions, for all pilots, is at the heart of this movement, and can only be achieved through Unity in the pilot body.
Voices have been raised in the past weeks advocating immediate action due to perceived “now-or-never” opportunity. It’s easy to get caught in the enthusiasm of the moment, but the Interim EERC would like to offer another perspective. The departure of experienced pilots from Ryanair is not a new concept. Skilled captains and first officers had already been moving to greener pastures for several years before the current “roster mishap”, caused by poor management practices. Ryanair is still expanding, and so are the competition. Openings at other low cost carriers as well as at the legacy airlines are expected to remain for the foreseeable future. Add the constant demand from the Middle East and the emerging markets in Asia, and a picture takes shape that doesn’t bode well for Ryanair’s recruitment efforts.
Discontent amongst the pilots in Ryanair has been a factor for years. It’s a lucky coincidence that the recent ruling in the European Court of Justice and Ryanair’s poor employee management skills culminated in the current crisis within a few weeks. These events were the spark that ignited the fire for this movement, but the fuel had already been gathering for years.
As long as the pilot body strives forward with the clear goal of structural change to their representation and negotiation methods in mind, and refuses to allow any deviations, no external force can stop it, whether Ryanair suffers from a pilot shortage or not.
The Interim EERC would like to invite all pilots in Ryanair to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries, ideas or other feedback.
The Interim EERC of Ryanair pilots