Ryanair proposes mediator for Irish pilots union talks

Europe’s biggest airline by passenger numbers agreed to recognize unions for the first time late last year but negotiations since have faltered. (Reuters)
Updated 03 August 2018

Ryanair proposes mediator for Irish pilots union talks

DUBLIN: Ryanair on Friday proposed that a third-party mediator step into talks with a trade union representing its Irish pilots who went on strike for a fourth time on Friday before wider stoppages planned around Europe next week.
The Forsa trade union, which had called for such mediation, welcomed Ryanair’s response and said it would recommend it to pilots.
Europe’s biggest airline by passenger numbers agreed to recognize unions for the first time late last year but negotiations since have faltered.
It has seen strikes in some of its biggest markets including Ireland, Spain and Italy as it struggles to reach collective labor agreements with trade unions.
Around a quarter of Ryanair’s 350 pilots based in Ireland have taken part in a series of one-day strikes and a number picketed in the rain outside Dublin airport on Friday morning.
Ryanair has limited the damage from the Irish strikes so far and said passengers on the 20 flights it canceled from the 300 that flew in and out of Ireland on Friday were either put on another flight or refunded.
However, it faces greater disruption next Friday with Irish pilots joining colleagues in Sweden and Belgium on strike, and Ryanair braced for action in Germany and the Netherlands on the same day.
Ryanair shares were down 0.7 percent at 12.92 euros by 1150 GMT, near two-year lows and well below the level hit in December when it shocked the markets by ending 32 years of refusing to recognize unions.
While the Irish airline has signed recognition deals in some markets, it has failed to do so in others and not yet reached any collective labor agreements.
“This is part and parcel of life in aviation when you recognize unions,” Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs told Ireland’s Newstalk radio station, pointing to years of wrangling over pay and conditions at rival Lufthansa.
“There is going to be disruption, it will be small, we will manage it... We are making progress around the rest of Europe, strikes can be part of that process, they are not helpful, but we will get collective labor agreements in place over the autumn in our key markets.”


Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

Updated 21 October 2020

Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

  • Competition and Consumer Commission launched Australian court action against Google in July

CANBERRA, Australia: Australia’s competition watchdog will consider its own antitrust case against Google, the commission chairman said Wednesday after the US Justice Department sued the company for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising.
Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims described the US case filed Tuesday as one of the world’s biggest antitrust cases in the past 20 years.
“I’m delighted the D.o.J.’s taking it on and we’ll follow it really closely,” Sims told the National Press Club, referring to the US Department of Justice.
“We’re going to look at it and see whether there’s any value in what we might do,” Sims added.
Separately, Sims is drafting legislation to address the imbalance in bargaining power between Google and the Australian media businesses that want the tech giant to pay for journalism.
The bills, that will be ready to be introduced to Parliament by December, would empower an arbitrator to make binding decisions on how much Google and Facebook must pay media companies for news content.
Sims said his commission “had a lot of talk” with the US Justice Department before he released a report in July last year that recommended more government regulation on the market power of Google and Facebook that would ensure fair deals for other media businesses and more control for individuals on how their data was used.
Sim’s commission launched Australian court action against Google in July alleging the California-based company misled account holders about its use of their personal data.
The commission alleges the Google misled millions of Australians to obtain their consent and expand the scope of personal information that Google collects about users’ Internet activity to target advertising. Google denies the allegations.
In October last year, the commission sued Google in an Australian court alleging the company broke consumer law by misleading Android users about how their location data was collected and used. That case will be heard by the Federal Court next month. Google also denies that allegation.
Sims said Google was lobbying “every politician at Parliament House” ahead of draft legislation being introduced to make it pay for news.
Google has said the proposed laws would result in “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube,” put free services at risk and could lead to users’ data “being handed over to big news businesses.”
Facebook has warned it might block Australian news content rather than pay for it.