Ryanair pilots not threatening industrial action, Michael O'Leary says

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary arrives at the Ryanair AGM in Dublin Ireland

We asked on Monday for volunteers to work days off.

"But that's already factored into our pilot recruitment numbers", he said.

However, he also used the meeting to outline a stick-and-carrot approach to dealing with pilots after some prepared a letter demanding new contracts. "We have had huge cooperation and support from pilots".

O'Leary later insisted there were no problems between the company and the pilots and that if they misbehave "that will be the end of the goodies".

He denied that was a threat to pilots against taking industrial action saying: "I don't think that can be misconstrued as a threat".

"If you want to discuss additional pay and bases, come talk to us".

"We would be happy to work with Ryanair on this issue to ensure it is an airline where pilots are proud to work".

A source told Reuters that a letter had been approved by pilots at 17 of 85 Ryanair bases demanding new permanent, contracts under local labour law, though this could not be independently verified by Reuters.

The latest development heaps pressure on chief executive Michael O'Leary as he deals with a flights fiasco that has caused chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers.

During the AGM in Dublin today (Thursday 21 September) Mr O'Leary told Ryanair shareholders the airline does not need the agreement of the pilots in order to take back a week of leave.

Passengers on cancelled flights have complained that notice was far to short and that it was hard to claim compensation.

James Daley, director at Fairer Finance, another consumer group, said: "Ryanair has made this mistake and it needs to be gong out of its way to help customers claim what they are rightfully owed".

"I'm aware of that threat of work to rule, and again, we have nothing to do with that threat of work to rule", he said.

But O'Leary appeared unwilling to give any ground in the standoff, instead threatening to cancel pilots' time off and questioning the extent of their talents.

The airline is also asking those with an October month off to confirm their preferred availability by this Wednesday.

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