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22 September 2017, 12:38 | Vickie Mathis
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Ryanair has offered to pay bonuses of up to €12,000 to pilots who agree to give up annual leave entitlements to plug gaps in the schedule which have triggered flight cancellations over the next six weeks.
The low-priced carrier said last week it would cancel as many as 50 flights a day until the end of October after misallocating pilot holiday until the end of the year.
Pilots at London Stansted, Dublin, Frankfurt and Berlin have now been offered an additional 10,000 euros per year, O'Leary told a news conference.
But one group, made up of employee councils from 14 Ryanair bases across Europe, have sent a letter to the firm refusing the offer. The Guardian newspaper also reported that Ryanair pilots are trying organize a protest under which they would refuse to do any work beyond what is required by their contracts, which would cause more scheduling headaches for the airline.
Mr O'Leary was speaking following a meeting with shareholders at the airline's AGM in Dublin on Thursday amid the flight cancellation controversy.
But.the president of the Irish Airline Pilots' Association has said Ryanair needs a "fundamental change" to the way it deals with pilots.
Former airline pilot Terry Tozer told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "They've not been treated, and in fact even when I was still at it, pilots were not treated as the highly trained professionals that they should be by many companies".
Chief executive Michael O'Leary will tell pilots who plan to take four weeks of consecutive holiday in the coming months will be told to reduce it to three weeks, with the lost leave to be taken in January.
Instead, it reports they want new contracts and better working conditions.
"We have some goodies to discuss with pilots, but if pilots misbehave, that would be the end of the discussion of the goodies".
In a letter seen by the BBC, pilot representatives from 30 of the company's 80 or so European bases turned down the cash bonus offer.
A captain has claimed that pilots have been leaving Ryanair in droves because Michael O'Leary treats them with "utter contempt".
Ryanair said that by the end of this week, it expects to have re-accommodated, or authorised refund requests, to over 95 percent of the 315,000 customers affected by these cancellations.
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