'Bearing All the Hallmarks of Oppression' – Union Avoidance in Europe’s Largest Low Cost Airline

Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 252-270, 2009

Posted: 23 Feb 2010  

Michelle O'Sullivan

University of Limerick - Kemmy Business School

Patrick Gunnigle

University of Limerick - Kemmy Business School

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Ryanair is now Europe’s largest low cost airline. It is also one of the most controversial, due to its outspoken boss, its cost containment strategies and its hostile relations with organised labour. Ryanair has consistently denied accusations that it is anti-union, stating that it respects the right of workers to organise and even claiming to be a champion of its employee’s right to non-unionisation. However, this claim does not hold up in the face of extensive evidence of union suppression. This paper addresses such evidence, particularly the various methods by which Ryanair have avoided and suppressed unions. In Ireland, Ryanair successfully crushed an organising campaign by the country’s largest union, the Services, Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), after a lengthy and bitter strike. The only other union continuing to challenge Ryanair is the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA). However, its efforts recently suffered a major setback when the Supreme Court ruled that Ryanair’s non-union ‘Employee Representative Committees’ were a form of collective bargaining, allowing the company to affirm its non-union status.

Keywords: Low-Cost Airline, Trade Union Recognition, Legislation, Union Avoidance, Ireland

Suggested Citation

O'Sullivan, Michelle and Gunnigle, Patrick, 'Bearing All the Hallmarks of Oppression' – Union Avoidance in Europe’s Largest Low Cost Airline (2009). Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 252-270, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1557814

Michelle Anne O'Sullivan (Contact Author)

University of Limerick - Kemmy Business School ( email )

Limerick
Ireland

Patrick Gunnigle

University of Limerick - Kemmy Business School ( email )

Limerick
Ireland
+353 61 202380 (Phone)
+353 61 338171 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
625