DEFIANT Ryanair pilots will take their holidays as they team up against boss Michael O’Leary after he suggested they were lazy.
Fiery chief O’Leary threatened to replace anyone who defied him and promised “no goodies” if they strike or call in sick.
The CEO has been slammed for his “gung ho” attitude and was forced to apologise for the “major boo boo” that saw 2,000 flights axed and 400,000 passengers affected over the next six weeks.
Pilots have now joined forces across Europe, with nearly 50 airports banding together and union memberships flying.
Air crew at Dublin, Stansted, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and East Midlands airports have all rejected a bonus of up to £12,000 as they fight for better working conditions and higher pay.
One pilot told Mail Online: “There are reports of lots of pilots joining BALPA union. Ryanair will hate this.
“Michael O’Leary’s statements are disgusting, we regularly fly over 40-44 hours in a week, 50-60 duty hours, waking up at 4 am plus commuting long distances. He hasn’t got a clue and is stirring up the pilots for a clash.”
Ryanair pilots are leaving in droves, with more than 700 walking out in 12 months – up 75 per cent on the year before.
And those who remain are considering strike action over their pay and conditions.
O’Leary has blasted the “self-important” rebels, saying: “I would challenge any pilot to explain how this is a difficult job or how it is they are overworked, or how anybody who by law can’t fly more than 18 hours a week could possibly be suffering from fatigue.”
He added: “We have some goodies to discuss, but if pilots misbehave, that would be the end of the discussion.”
Brian Strutton, General Secretary of pilots’ union BALPA, said O’Leary should be investigated for his comments over safety fears.
£2.8million pay packet for no frills supremo
By Tracey Boles
RYANAIR chief executive Michael O’Leary received a total pay package of nearly £2.88 million last year.
He took home a basic salary of £940,000 according to airline’s annual report for the 2017 fiscal year.
His performance-related bonus rose to £840,000 from £756,000 the previous year.
Share based awards of £1.11 million topped up his total pay package.
The report revealed that O’Leary now sits top of the pay table for European airline bosses including those of easyjet and IAG, the owner of British Airways.
Earlier in the year, O’Leary sold some of his Ryanair shares for an eye-watering £63 million.
“The Company does not provide the CEO with any pension contributions or other benefits which is in keeping with the low cost ethos of the airline,” Ryanair said in their report.
O’Leary became deputy chief executive of Ryanair in 1991 and was promoted to chief executive in January 1994.
His current contract with the Irish airline runs until September 2019 after he signed a new five-year deal in 2014.
Stranded holidaymakers say they are having to wait up to nine days to get home and others have been in tears trying to get through to a jammed helpline that can cost £25 or more.
The chaos will cost the company at least £22million, he said.
The tycoon — known for his history of gaffes — said it was “not my biggest cock-up” and admitted: “I’m not infallible.”
And when asked what he thought about staff on a WhatsApp group referring to him as “the Clown”, he said it was an “appropriate” description given the current mess.
But he insisted Ryanair’s pilots work under “good terms and conditions” and relations with air crew are good.
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