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German pilots back industrial action at Ryanair

 

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A Ryanair jet lands at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)

A Ryanair jet lands at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)

A Ryanair jet lands at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)

RYANAIR passengers may face more disruption as German pilots overwhelmingly backed industrial action in a ballot today.

Members of the Vereinigung Cockpit union voted by 96pc in favour of industrial action.

In a statement, the union said that any action will be announced at least 24 hours ahead of time to give the travelling public time to make other arrangements.

The German pilots do not have to give as much notice as Irish-based ones – who are legally required to notify their employer seven days in advance.

They say they are demanding working conditions similar to those found at competitors, including TUIfly.

“To avoid industrial action, we are offering Ryanair a final deadline to submit a workable proposal by August 6,” said the union in a statement.

“Unfortunately, so far Ryanair has not made any proposal with which we could work.”

Chairman of Industrial Relations at Vereinigung Cockpit, Ingolf Schumacher, said no progress was made at talks last Friday.

“Since the start of our negotiations in January, Ryanair has been playing for time and even if Ryanair is not taking this ballot seriously, industrial action like in other European countries, seems unavoidable in Germany as well,” he said.

“We implore upon Ryanair to reverse its present way of behaving like a wrong-way driver towards pilot and cabin crew unions throughout Europe.”

Meanwhile, Ryanair has invited a union for striking Irish-based pilots to talks after they hold a fourth 24-hour stoppage this Friday.

The airline said even if the strike is called off at this stage, the damage to its business has already been done.

It has cancelled 20 of 300 flights due to take off that day.

In a statement this morning, the airline said the repeated strikes have damaged its business and led to 300 pilots and cabin crew receiving protective notice last week.

Up to 3,500 passengers booked on the cancelled Friday flights have been re-accommodated or refunded.

The budget airline asked Fórsa to explain why more customers are being disrupted as it has agreed to nine of its 11 demands.

The Irish Airline Pilots Association division of Fórsa wants a seniority agreement that gives those with longest service first call on base transfers, holidays and promotions.

It previously submitted a list of 11 demands relating to this.

Chief Operations Officer Peter Bellew said all passengers affected by Friday’s strike have been reaccommodated or refunded.

“The 20 cancelled flights next Friday cannot be recovered even if this unnecessary fourth strike is called off,” he said.

“We hope Fórsa will accept our invitation to meet either next Saturday or any day the following week,  as long as no more strikes are called while we meet, and no Aer Lingus pilots are involved in these negotiations.

“We apologise to the 3,500 Irish customers whose 20 flights next Friday have been cancelled, but who have now been re-accommodated or refunded. We share their frustration at these strikes (by just 25pc of Irish pilots), which are unnecessary when we have already agreed to nine of Fórsa’s 11 requirements.”

He claimed the union’s call for a meeting lacked credibility as the airline asked it to meet last Wednesday.

However, Fórsa claimed this meeting was only about the company’s decision to put staff on protective notice, rather than the dispute.

In its statement, Ryanair said this week’s strike is being mounted by just 25pc of its Irish pilots. The majority of the 350 or so of them are contractors.

“Given how much Ryanair has already agreed to, it is irresponsible of Fórsa to call repeated strikes of Irish pilots and refuse to meet Ryanair (as they did last Tuesday), which has damaged Ryanair’s Irish business and led to 300 pilots and cabin crew receiving protective notices,” said the statement.

A Ryanair spokesperson said: “We have written to the VC today (30 July) and invited them to another meeting next week. We hope we can make further progress in concluding a collective labour agreement with our pilots in Germany.”

 

Online Editors