Last year’s Ryanair dispute has boosted air transport employment unions

Union bosses: Airline’s conflict with trade organisations has highlighted our value

Since October 2014, when the discount airline Ryanair announced its plans to open a hub in Copenhagen, membership of the employment union Flyvebranchens Personale Union (FPU) has increased by 31 percent, and other unions are also aware of growing support, reports.

Unions more visible
According to Thilde Waast, the chairman of FPU, the increase is down to a combination of the union being more active in attracting members and the fallout of the labour union dispute with Ryanair that gained a lot of media attention last summer.

READ MORE: Unions lash out at Ryanair before company takes flight

“We have made a sweeping effort to reinvent ourselves as an organisation. We shouldn’t just sit in an office and wait, but go out and show what we can do,” she said.

“The Ryanair case has made us more visible. It has become clearer what kind of organisation we are and what we fight for. Those who are hesitant can better see the value of being a member of an employment union now. It has made it much easier to recruit new members.”

Pride in membership
A reinvigorated appreciation for the work of employment unions has also been evident among non-flying workers, according to René Knudsen, the head of HK Service Hovedstaden, which represents airport staff who check tickets and perform other ground duties.

“We already organise more than 90 percent, so we have almost everyone with us. But we are generally aware of greater backing from our members and a pride in being in an employment union.”