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Ryanair latest: Unions 'disappointed' airline did not formally agree to collective bargaining

Update 9pm: The trade union Impact has said it is disappointed that Ryanair bosses would not give them a document confirming the company's recognition of unions, and readiness to negotiate with them in collective bargaining.

Speaking this evening, Bernard Harbour said: "While Ryanair management said they recognised Impact and IALPA (the pilots union) for collective bargaining, they said they were unable to give the union a piece of paper to confirm this recognition.

"We think this is disappointing given all that's been said in the media over the last five days by the company."

He added the company management had taken away union proposals from the meeting, and that the union had said they wanted to hear the company response to those proposals by noon on Thursday this week (December 21)

He said the unions also reminded management they could reactive their intent to strike in the absence of a "timely agreement".

Ryanair said earlier that recognising the unions of pilots and cabin crew will cost them €100m a year.

Speaking after the talks, Ryanair's Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson said he is pleased with how they went.

Update 1.20pm: Ryanair 'will now deal with pilots through recognised national union structures'

Ryanair will now change its long-standing policy of not recognising unions, starting this week with meetings with Irish, German and Portugese pilot unions, writes Cillian Sherlock.

Michael O'Leary said Ryanair "will now deal with our pilots through recognised national union structures".

The airline is meeting a pilot's unit for the first time in history today.

It also confirmed it will recognise cabin crew unions.

The company said it will meet with other EU pilot and cabin crew unions in the New year.

Mr O'Leary said the move was "putting the needs of our customers first, and avoiding disruption to their Christmas flights".

"Recognising unions will be a significant change for Ryanair, but we have delivered radical change before," Michael O'Leary said.

The airline has written to pilots in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal inviting each of them to talks to recognise the unions as representative bodies "as long as they establish Committees of Ryanair pilots to deal with Ryanair issues, as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines in Ireland or elsewhere".

Michael O'Leary

Earlier: Christmas strike depends on talks between Ryanair and union today

The first ever talks between unions and management at Ryanair will take place later.

Pilots called off tomorrow's threatened pre-Christmas one-day strike pending the outcome of today's negotiations.

However IMPACT, the union involved, has already warned that the strike is suspended rather than cancelled.

It wants the company to clarify the detail of it's agreement on Friday - to recognise unions for the first time in the company's history.

Ryanair's chief people officer Eddie Wilson said earlier last week the company's long-standing policy of not recognising workers' groups is changing now.

"We have had a number of threatened strikes across a number of countries in Europe and to protect our passenger's travel plans over the Christmas period we've decided to make that decision now. We're decisive in it," he said.