German union calls for first-ever pilot strike at Ryanair

Marcus Newton
December 22, 2017

Germany's powerful Cockpit union called on pilots to stage the first-ever strike at Ryanair on Friday as it stepped up the pressure in a Europe-wide battle for recognition from the no-frills airline.

"Ryanair will continue to engage with the VC union and its German pilots to try to agree a CLA in early January, so tomorrow's four-hour strike serves no objective other than to disrupt thousands of German passengers in Christmas week, exclusively so that the VC can impose a non-elected, non-Ryanair pilot (who is now suing the airline) on its Ryanair Pilots Council", the company said.

In a statement Ryanair said it was recognising both the trade union and the pilot council for employees.

"This has shown us that nothing has changed with Ryanair's management style or how it handles workers' rights", VC President Ilja Schulz told reporters, sitting behind a table bearing the slogan "No landing clearance for Irish social dumping".

The airline said last week it was reversing its longstanding refusal to recognize pilots' unions as it worked to avert strikes in several European countries over the busy Christmas season.

IMPACT had given the airline a midday deadline to provide formal recognition, saying that strike action could be renewed if an agreement wasn't delivered.

"Ryanair continues to play for time and as a result prevents the launch of collective bargaining", said VC negotiator Ingolf Schumacher.

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However, as Ryanair attended a number of meetings with the unions, Irish pilot union IMPACT came away from the meeting disappointed with the lack of written confirmation of the airline's official recognition of pilot unions.

Earlier on Thursday, the VC had sent a memo to its Ryanair pilots telling them to stay alert for a possible "call-for-strike" message on their phones later in the day.

According to the German pilots' union, Ryanair offers no continued payment of wages in the event of sickness, no guaranteed work schedule, no retirement planning and a widely used system of registering pilots as self-employed. "In normal industrial relations, we do engage on proposals around pay and that maybe part of our discussions with management going forward, but, I think, it's too early to say".

It agreed to meet the union in Frankfurt on January 5 to "progress and resolve these issues, which Ryanair expects will lead to a collective labour agreement (CLA) for Ryanair's pilots in Germany."?

Ryanair said it had written to pilots asking them to work as normal to avoid disrupting the travel plans of thousands of German passengers.

Update 5.45pm: Ryanair sincerely regrets receiving notice of a threatened four-hour pilot strike in Germany tomorrow.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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