Almost half of investors in Ryanair’s rejected a pay deal for chief executive Michael O’Leary that could hand him €99 million.

Shareholders voted in unprecedented numbers against Ryanair’s remuneration report at the company’s annual meeting near Dublin yesterday.

They were concerned that the targets for O’Leary to win the payoff are not stretching enough. Just 50.5% of votes at the meeting were in favour.

The shareholder revolt came as the no-frills carrier faces ongoing industrial action by its UK pilots.

The British Airline Pilots Association claimed yesterday that its members working for the carrier have been told that benefits will be removed should they take part in current strike action.

More:Ryanair UK pilots to strike for seven more days

The latest strike, which started on Wednesday and Thursday, is set to go on for a further five days this month – September 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29.

Balpa said it still hopes to meet with Ryanair either today or on Monday, despite the airline previously refusing to participate in talks at the conciliation service Acas following the first round of action last month.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “It takes an extraordinarily intransigent employer to refuse to take part in an entirely voluntary, non-binding Acas process from which each side can withdraw at any time.

“Given that neither side has anything to lose from Acas conciliation, what on earth is Ryanair frightened of?

“Instead of seeking to resolve the current impasse via negotiation, Ryanair seems hell bent on prolonging the dispute by threatening pilots with the removal of staff travel benefits and inflated and draconian deductions from salary.”

The airline said after the agm: “Ryanair does, and will continue to, consult with its shareholders, and we will report back to them over the coming year on how the board will adapt its decision making to reflect their advice and input on all these topics.”

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