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UPDATE 1-Ryanair to cut significantly fewer jobs after pay deals

Fri, 21st Aug 2020 15:42

* Pay cuts mean no redundancies needed among pilots to date

* Agreements still to be reached in Belgium, Italy, Germany
(Adds detail, quotes)

By Padraic Halpin

DUBLIN, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Ryanair plans to cut
significantly fewer jobs than the 3,000 it originally estimated,
after 97% of pilots and over 90% of cabin crew have signed up so
far to pay cuts and work practice changes, its director of
operations said on Friday.

Europe's biggest budget airline had warned it would have to
cut one in five of its pilots and cabin crew if they did not
agree to pay cuts of up to 20% after the COVID-19 crisis ravaged
its business.

The Irish airline struck a pay deal with Spanish pilots on
Thursday, leaving agreements outstanding with pilots in Belgium
and cabin crew in Italy and Germany.

"We haven't finalised the number yet, we originally said
there was going to be 3,000 redundancies but we have been able
to reduce that significantly," Neal McMahon told Reuters in a
telephone interview.

"Broadly speaking they (pilots and cabin crew) recognise the
grim situation we are in and they have been pragmatic."

Ryanair's Italian cabin crew union has put an agreement out
to ballot, while there were further talks in Germany on Friday
and the airline is in the middle of a collective redundancy
process in Belgium, Ryanair People Director Darrell Hughes said.

While cabin crew in Spain failed to join pilots in agreeing
terms this week, the collective bargaining system there allows
Ryanair to implement the changes and Hughes was confident its
position would stand up to challenge.

The executives added the airline had managed its pilot
numbers without redundancies to date through a mixture of
voluntary part time work, voluntary unpaid leave and spreading
shifts around.

Low-cost rival easyJet confirmed the loss of up to
670 jobs this week, part of a planned total of 4,500 that will
also likely be trimmed due to agreements on part time contracts,
base transfers and unpaid leave.

British Airways, owned by IAG, said in April it
would need to axe up to 12,000 of its 42,000 staff to survive.

Ryanair this week reduced its capacity by a further 20% for
September and October after a reimposition of some travel
restrictions hit bookings.

McMahon and Hughes said the number of redundancies would
depend on how winter booking fare and how much the pandemic
disrupts travel next year. Ryanair increased flights to 60% of
its normal schedule this month after resuming services in July.

"Airlines have for a long time relied on business traffic,
visiting friends and relatives and maybe an older non-family
market for travel in September, October, November," Hughes said.

"It's a big question as to what that level of demand is
going to be, but it's not looking good at present."
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Susan Fenton and Mark
Potter)

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