Ryanair’s pledge to “face down” any distruption caused by the looming pilots strike next Wednesday has turned turtle today with the low-cost airline’s announcement that, for the first time, it is prepared to negotiate with unions.
The news has prompted all kinds of tongue-in-cheek headlines.
Did Ryanair’s controversial boss Michael O´Leary get “Christmas carolled” asks the Irish Examiner.
“Despite previously saying he would ‘cut off’ his ‘own hands’ rather than deal with unions, Michael O’Leary has made a u-turn on the issue in a bid to avoid a hugely disruptive Christmas strike.
“Incredulous Twitter users are now comparing him to Scrooge of a Christmas Carol fame – after Scrooge has been visited by three ghosts who show him the error of his ways.
“There have also been comparisons drawn with the villainous Mr Potter in 1946 Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life who is forced to back down after the townspeople band together to repay the debt owed to him by local bank manager James Stewart.
“A Christmas miracle has occurred it seems…
For thousands of passengers, let’s hope so.
O’Leary’s actual announcement included the admission that: “Christmas flights are very important to our customers and we wish to remove any worry or concern that they may be disrupted by pilot industrial action next week,” he said.
“If the best way to achieve this is to talk to our pilots through a recognised union process, then we are prepared to do so, and we have written today to these unions inviting them to talks to recognise them and calling on them to cancel the threatened industrial action planned for Christmas week.”
It now remains to be seen what the unions in Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Spain make of the capitulation.
Italian pilots had been due to stage a four-hour walkout today (Friday) while the others were all joining a 24-hour strike called by the pilots’ union in Ireland.