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DUBLIN: Ryanair's Irish pilot union on Tuesday began a ballot of members on possible strike action with results due by Aug. 9, the FORSA-IALPA union said in a statement.

The ballot follows a decision by Ryanair pilots in Britain, the Irish airline's largest market, earlier this month to hold a similar ballot in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Pilots at British Airways have already voted for strike action in a dispute over pay. The airline has lost a legal bid to stop the strike, but plans to appeal.

The Irish union did not say when strike action might take place, but the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has indicated that its Ryanair action would not take place before the week of Aug. 19.

Ryanair, Europe's largest low-cost carrier, suffered a series of damaging strikes last year after the carrier bowed to pressure in late 2017 to recognise unions for the first time.

Management say significant progress has been made since, with collective labour agreements concluded with a number of pilot unions throughout Europe.

But IALPA said there was "frustration and disappointment" among pilots over a lack of progress in ongoing pay talks with the company. BALPA last week said issues included pensions, maternity benefits and a fair, transparent pay structure.

Ryanair, which says it offers better conditions than low-cost rivals for Boeing pilots, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While earlier strikes took place against a background of a pilot shortage, Ryanair now says it has more than enough pilots and is preparing to downsize or cut some of its bases due to delays in the delivery of Boeing's grounded 737 MAX jet.

Copyright Reuters, 2019