Ryanair to meet Irish pilots' union in bid to halt strike

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Ryanair pilots were planning strike action for Wednesday but it has been suspended.

The Irish carrier offered to recognise unions for the first time on Friday after pilots in Ireland, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal threatened walkouts.

Confirmation that the meeting with Impact will now take place Tuesday in advance of the Wednesday deadline was confirmed by Ryanair on Saturday.

"Christmas flights are very important to our customers and we wish to remove any worry or concern that they may be disrupted by pilot industrial action next week", Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said in a written statement.

"Ryanair has also offered to meet IMPACT/IALPA and their Ryanair pilot committee on Tuesday 19 December if that would suit them better", added the statement.

If the strike had gone ahead it would have seen the majority of the firm's captains in Ireland walk out.

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While some unions agreed to suspend action, the Irish Air Line Pilots' Association wanted more clarification.

There could be a breakthrough in attempts to avert Ryanair's first ever pilots' strike.

The pilots had backed industrial action by a margin of 94 per cent to six per cent in secret ballots.

In its latest statement Ryanair has now said that it will "change its long standing policy of not recognizing unions in order to avoid any threat of disruption to its customers and its flights from pilot unions during Christmas week".

Earlier this week, 79 Dublin-based Ryanair pilots had said they would strike for one day on 20 December.

It will bring certainty to Ryanair passengers travel plans over the Christmas period.