In an open letter, unions from Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain address Ryanair shareholders


On 16 August, seven unions from Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain have sent an open letter to the shareholders of Ryanair. Read the letter below:

Dear Ryanair Shareholders,

We are writing to you in a final attempt to find a peaceful resolution for the current employee unrest that, if handled promptly, will end a series of conflicts and industrial actions that are damaging the workers, the customers and ultimately, the airline.

After months of frustrating talks, innocuous meetings and even strike actions in some countries, we fail to see a ‘sincere and genuine’ union integration process and the willing to engage in a negotiation with the workers’ legitimate representatives in each country, instead of some hand-picked Unions, by convenience of the Ryanair management.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

Even though a few recognitions agreements have been signed between Ryanair and a hand full of Unions, in many cases are a just legal formality to initiate negotiations, no progress was made and no collective labour agreement was yet signed, even though Ryanair management’s press releases seem to spread the opposite message.

What happened was a polarization of the parties’ positions due to a continuous refusal from Ryanair representatives to follow the local regulations and refusal to respect the Unions role in their own countries.

Ryanair management continues to use bullying as a management tool, that punishes people for being sick, that sends intimidating letters to the people that exercised their right to strike, threatening to cut jobs in the countries affected and insisting on perpetuating a business model that we all consider to be obsolete.

By insisting in this kind of attitude Ryanair management only demonstrates that they were never ‘sincere and genuine’ and never had the intention to engage with any negotiation.

And we can’t negotiate without trust.

And the little trust that the Unions built for this process was broken.

For the simple fact that we can’t accept negotiating without strong commitments.

We can only establish dialogue with individuals that respect their own worker’s dignity.

And trust will be easily re-established when the employee’s legitimate representatives start to see strong evidence that Ryanair is changing.

So we write to you, the Ryanair shareholders, because we want Ryanair to succeed and thrive and work together to build a brighter future for everyone.

However, it will be very difficult to do so, until the shareholders decide to make the necessary changes to the business model.

Other low-cost carriers across Europe have a completely different approach to industrial relations, whilst remaining profitable, maintaining a robust operation and a healthy working environment.

We strongly believe that Ryanair is capable of adapting its business to the commercial and social reality of today’s Europe, based on dignity, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.

What we don’t believe is that current management has the necessary trust from the employees nor the skill set to perform these changes.

2018 can remain in history as either the dawn of a new sustainable Ryanair, or it can be the year that some poor decisions will make irreversible damage to an already fragile operation.

The decision rests on you.

Yours sincerely,

snpvac – CNE – sitcpla – USO – UILTRASPORTI – FILT-CGIL – LBC-NVK


  1. Ryanair said in a statement that the claims are false and made by smaller unions that it doesn’t recognize. “Letters to shareholders are a failed attempt to generate fake news and will be ignored by both Ryanair and our shareholders,” it added.


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