Highlighting the fight of Ryanair workers in their historic bid for union recognition, Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland spoke in support of a motion yesterday (September 10) on tackling atypical employment models.
Diana hailed Ryanair staff’s success.
“I know this is a moment to recognise,” she said. “Hell has not frozen over, the world is still turning, and Ryanair has recognised trade unions.
“150 years on from the founding of this TUC, to all those who have written us off prematurely, we can say loud and clear — we are relevant, we are needed, and whatever the latest employment model may be called, exploitation is exploitation, and the race to the bottom is no way to run an industry.”
She pointed out that, just like all workers, Ryanair employees “don’t want to be isolated, afraid; they want a collective voice, collective strength and collective bargaining.”
“And this traditionally hostile, anti-union employer has recognised this model has failed and they need to change, as they told us when we met for the first time in Dublin, following years of doing everything they could to keep the union out,” Diana added.
She highlighted how Unite has not only won union recognition for directly-employed members in Ryanair, but the union has also signed a recognition agreement with Crewlink, the main agency that recruits for Ryanair. Unite is likewise now moving on to another agency, Workforce International, as well.
“The next steps are critical,” Diana said.
“Our diverse membership is growing, our reps are being elected – and a tribute to Sarah, Nick and Laszlo – the first negotiating meetings are being arranged, and our joint campaigning on Ryanair with other unions across Europe and internationally with the International and European Transport Workers Federations (ITF and ETF) continues.”
“Ryanair workers know that their union and our movement cares,” she went on to say. “They are not alone, and together we can make a difference. All workers need to know that this change is possible.”
Diana hailed trade unions and the Labour Party for “civilising the last century”.
“Now is the time to come together to confront and stop the dismantling of all our achievements,” she said. “We can move forward again.
“And to Jet 2, still operating the anti-union model in aviation, we say, ‘You will not stop this tide of history,’” she warned, to rousing applause.
The motion was carried.