Ryanair pilots in the UK have accepted a temporary pay cut of 20% in order to safeguard jobs.
According to the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), 96% of pilots who are members of the union voted in favour of taking a pay cut in order to save 260 of the 330 pilot jobs at risk of redundancy.
Impact of coronavirus on pay
It said the rest of the proposed redundancies are linked to base closures – at Leeds Bradford, Prestwick, Bournemouth and Southend – which are still to be resolved between the union and Ryanair.
The pilots will see their pay restored to 100% over the next four years.
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “This is a terrible time for aviation and for employees in all airlines.
“It was our members’ mandate for us to save as many jobs as possible. In the circumstances this is the right thing to do even if it means accepting difficult temporary reductions in pay.
“We do not relish accepting pay cuts and this is going to be tough for many of our pilot members. But we are at least pleased to have ensured that the overwhelming number of pilots whose jobs were at risk will continue to be employed.”
The deal was agreed just hours after Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said that plans to make around 3,000 Ryanair staff redundant could be avoided if all staff accepted a pay cut.
Negotiations with cabin crew and other staff continue, with lower paid cabin crew being asked to accept a 5% reduction in pay.
Eddie Wilson, CEO of Ryanair subsidiary Ryanair DAC, said: “We welcome this week’s result that 96% of Balpa members have voted in favour of a four-year agreement on 20% pay cuts and productivity improvements on rosters and flexible working patterns to save the maximum number of UK pilot jobs.
“The strength of this vote demonstrates the commitment from our pilots in the UK to work with Ryanair as we work our way through this crisis over the next number of years.”
Elsewhere in the aviation industry, Airbus planned to make 15,000 people redundant globally by summer 2021, including 1,700 in the UK, while easyJet expected to close its bases at Stanstead, Southend and Newcastle, and reduce its workforce by up to a third.
Virgin Atlantic has also secured a £200m cash injection from parent company Virgin, but said it needed around £1bn in the coming weeks in order to stay afloat.