Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Irish passengers could have a problem with their holiday travel plans as pilots said Tuesday they will strike just days before Christmas, due to a labor dispute.
Ireland-based Ryanair said it received notice Tuesday from the pilots union IMPACT about the walkout -- scheduled for a 24-hour period on Dec. 20.
The union said the dispute is about winning independent representation for pilots in the company and securing a safe space for negotiations.
The airline responded in an apologetic statement, saying the carrier will deal with any issues if, or when, they arrive.
"While some disruption may occur, Ryanair believes this will largely be confined to a small group of pilots who are working their notice and will shortly leave Ryanair, so they don't care how much upset they cause colleagues or customers," the airline said.
Ryanair said its pilots, who are paid "very well," are free to join unions -- but added that "like other multinational [carriers], Ryanair is also free -- under both Irish and EU law -- to decline to engage with [competitor pilot] unions."
The airline's statement also said it will not recognize the Aer Lingus pilot union, "no matter how often or how long this tiny minority try to disrupt our flights or our customers plans during Christmas week."
Ryanair said any Dublin-based pilots who walk out will breach their base labor agreement -- and they will lose scheduling and pay benefits and promotion opportunities until they return.