Letter of support and unity from European Cockpit Association
Pilot Unity 2017
We are writing on behalf of your fellow European professional pilots, who are currently watching with admiration as you, their friends and colleagues in Ryanair, stand up and demand no more and no less than fair and reasonable treatment.
The first thing I want to say is that you have our wholehearted and unconditional support in this endeavour. If there is any way we can help or assist any one or any group of you, please just ask and we will, in all of our professional associations, do our very best.
The second message I would like to offer is in support of your unity. The employment model you reject is one of isolation, seeking to keep individuals apart, to divide and rule.
The answer to that approach is Unity. Unity that you are now showing, and that is the first, last, best and only defence. Please hold to it, and you will succeed.
What does that unity mean in practice?
- It means you do not allow divide and conquer tactics to succeed.
- It means you need to share every communication from the company, and channel every piece of information into a central point of your choice, before any response is made by anyone. Creating a network or platform to allow this to happen is essential.
- When you do respond, respond as one, with every fact to hand. Communication towards the company has to be with one voice, on behalf of all.
- If intimidatory practices, such as threats of dismissal or disciplinary action, are made against any one pilot or group of pilots, it must be faced down with a display of unity, as your first priority. No communication, no negotiation, no goodwill can be shown until whatever the intimidation is, it is withdrawn. Such practices may happen repeatedly, they may persist, they may be subtle, or aimed at those that seem more ‘deserving’. But unless you confront it, each and every one of you, and refuse to tolerate it, your unity will falter.
- You will need to quickly decide how to engage with each other across your different bases, and form the central point which will be your voice. You will need to quickly devise a means of forming a compromise, consensus, representative view for that voice to articulate. Everyone may not always agree with every position, but everyone must support the group’s consensus position when it is reached. We stand by to help you if you need, but the initiative and decisions on how you want to do this must be yours and yours alone.
- Finally, unless every base and every pilot group adheres to these principles, if just one group deviates and seeks its own path for its own benefit, your collective position will be undermined. If this happens, challenge it and correct it immediately.
We know that some of you may be sceptical about “Unions”, may feel let down by them in the past, or may not see how they are relevant to your future. We are not writing to ‘sell’ them to you, they are no more than an experienced collective, who wish to assist with your attempt to form your own collective. We will emphasise again for the avoidance of doubt: this current effort is about you the pilots of Ryanair, and must be built and given life by you the pilots of Ryanair.
It will be difficult, especially in a hostile environment. So if you ask your friends and colleagues in your profession for help, we will gladly give it, but we will not seek to impose any particular view when giving that help.
We understand your main wish to date is to have a permanent, direct and stable employment relationship for all, with meaningful social dialogue. This is the right thing to ask, and the most reasonable of things to ask. The fractured, precarious working model thus far imposed on so many of you is not sustainable or fair.
With the recent European Court of Justice ruling finally giving all employees the rights and benefits that come with their real base, and the IAA’s eventual acceptance that it must apply EU fatigue protections in the same way as everyone else, that unsustainable model has now become clear to the public, the media, and in operational reality.
We will conclude as we began, offering the support of your profession, both passive and active. You have a historic opportunity to improve your position and you have momentum you created yourselves. Get united, stay united, and win the fairness and reasonable treatment that is your collective right. We will strive to help you wherever and whenever you need and request in the coming weeks, with resources, advice, support and expertise.
To that end we have set up a central contact point of our own that can channel that help and advise quickly or seek advice from wherever in the profession it can best be provided. Use that, or get directly in touch with any local professional association as you need.
Good luck. We stand with you. Yours sincerely,
The European Cockpit Association
On behalf of the European pilot profession