The union representing Ryanair pilots has cancelled five days of strikes planned for the end of September.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) called off the industrial action to “pave the way for meaningful negotiations”.

Strikes were due to be held on September 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29.

The pilots announced the strikes earlier this month, after earlier walkouts caused little disruption. The dispute is over pay and conditions.

Balpa said Ryanair has threatened to remove  pilots’ benefits if they went ahead with strike action.

More: Ryanair UK pilots to strike for seven more days

Ryanair defies UK pilots strike

A statement issued by Balpa said: “Balpa cancelled five further days of strike action in Ryanair. This comes despite the fact that the relationship between Ryanair and its pilots in the UK and elsewhere remains acrimonious.

“Instead of engaging in negotiations Ryanair has reverted to type, electing to punish pilots by withdrawing their travel benefits.

“Despite this, UK pilot representatives consulted striking members yesterday and agreed to suspend any further strikes in order to pave the way for meaningful negotiations under the auspices of the UK conciliation service, ACAS.

“Despite a strong turnout for strike action and a high level of commitment among pilots in Ryanair, the pilot representatives took the decision to allow a breathing space in the hope that constructive negotiations could get underway.”

But the union said it retained the ability to set new strike dates should it be necessary.