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Latest: Ryanair pilots announce one-day bank holiday strike as 300 Dublin jobs at risk

Update 12.40pm: The Ryanair union-management dispute escalated further today, as Dublin-based Ryanair pilots announced their intention to hold ANOTHER one-day strike, this time on the Friday of the bank holiday weekend.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said passengers are now "getting into real difficulties" as the dispute escalates.

Around 100 Irish based pilots will walk off the job on Friday, August 3.

It comes as the airline warns that the jobs of up to 300 pilots and cabin crew could be at risk, as it plans to scale back its fleet in Dublin.

In a surprise move this morning Ryanair confirmed it plans to cut the number of its planes in Dublin from 30 to 24.

It has told 100 pilots and over 200 cabin crew that their services may not be required from the end of October.

Ryanair is blaming the recent strikes and their impact on bookings.

Bernard Harbour from the trade union FÓRSA says there is likely to be further disruption.

[quote]They're interpreting that as a provocative act and an attempt to intimidate pilots who have been taking industrial action so today we have announced a further one day strike on the 3rd of August and if Ryanair are incapable of changing tack there is likely to be further disruption in the future.[/quote]

Despite the escalation in this dispute - Transport Minister Shane Ross says he is not getting involved.

He said:

[quote]My worry is for everyone involved that they get back to work because the passengers are being affected adversely and people are getting into real difficulties and we want to see that end as soon as possible but I am not going to intervene in a dispute of that sort.[/quote]

The pilot strike has so far led to the cancellation of 70 flights affecting 11,000 – with more disruption yet to come.

Transport Minister Shane Ross.

[h2]Earlier: Ryanair to cut fleet by 20%; 300 jobs at risk[/h2]

Update 8.30am: Ryanair says it plans to reduce its Dublin based fleet by 20% - which could see 300 pilots and cabin crew face redundancy.

It comes amid an ongoing row between the airline and the union representing Irish based pilots - which has so far resulted in three days of strike action.

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary.

In a statement, Ryanair says it plans to cut its Dublin based fleet this winter from 30 to 24 aircraft - which it says is partly because of the recent strike action by Irish based pilots - and the growth of the company's Polish charter airline.

It has told 100 pilots and over 200 cabin crew employees that their services may not be required from the end of October - and has issued them with letters of protective notice.

The airline says it will now begin a process of consultation with those involved and says this may include redundancy or transfers to Poland.

Ryanair’s COO Peter Bellew said: “We regret these base aircraft reductions at Dublin for Winter 2018, but the Board has decided to allocate more aircraft to those markets where we are enjoying strong growth (such as Poland), and this will result in some aircraft reductions and job cuts in country markets where business has weakened, or forward bookings are being damaged by rolling strikes by Irish pilots.

[quote]Ryanair operates a fleet of over 450 aircraft from 87 bases across Europe. We can only do so if we continue to offer low fares, reliable flight services to our customers, and if our reputation for reliability or forward bookings is affected, then base and potential job cuts such as these at Dublin are a deeply regretted consequence.[/quote]

Over the last fortnight, 100 Irish based pilots with Ryanair have walked off the job for three days in a row over seniority, base transfers and annual leave.

The union representing them is meeting this morning to consider more strike action.

Earlier: FÓRSA to meet amid fears of more Ryanair strikes

The union representing Ryanair pilots will meet this morning - amid fears of more strikes.

There have been three days of industrial action by 100 Irish based pilots in a row over seniority, base transfers and annual leave.

FÓRSA says it is impossible to rule out more unrest - while Ryanair says it is available to talk.

Spokesman Bernard Harbor says both sides need to be on the same page.

He said: "We've made no progress in the talks that have taken place, we haven't even been able to meet with the company before yesterday's strike, the third strike.

"Today a dispute committee will be discussing whether further industrial action is going to take place and if so when that is going to be. Hopefully we will have a statement on that later this morning.

[quote]Resolutions to these disputes always happens but we do need the parties to sit down and talk and engage seriously. That is what we have been asking Ryanair to do, Fórsa is ready to do that so let's hope we can use the time available now to move that along.[/quote]

Elsewhere, the airline has been forced to cancel 600 flights across Europe today and tomorrow due to strike action by cabin crew in Spain, Portugal and Belgium.

The stoppage will affect tens of thousands of holidaymaker's.

The airline says it has offered to reimburse affected passengers or provide them with alternative flights.

Unions representing cabin crew are calling on the airline to give contractors the same work conditions as its own employees.

Ahead of this week's industrial action, Ryanair published details of pilot and cabin crew payslip's for June, claiming cabin crew earn up to double the "living wage" and receive paid and unpaid leave as they wish.

- Digital Desk