German pilots' union calls first-ever Ryanair strike on Friday

Ryanair urged passengers to head to airports despite a planned strike by its pilots saying it had asked pilots to show up for dutyMore

The Ryanair pilots in Germany said they had wanted to join their counterparts in Ireland, Italy as well as Portugal and mount a strike on Wednesday.

In a statement issued by Ryanair, the airline said the disruption is "unjustified and unnecessary".

Ryanair's Robin Kiely said: "Ryanair apologises sincerely to any German customers anxious or affected by this threatened four-hour strike tomorrow morning". "We hope and expect that these structures can and will be agreed with our pilots early in the new year".

The damaging disruption came after the low-priced carrier narrowly avoided a strike by crew operating out of Ireland.

Ryanair has not yet responded to the VC announcement.

It said: "This refusal clearly shows that the principles of trade union autonomy are disregarded by Ryanair and that the company does not truly desire to enter into constructive negotiations". It said initial negotiations were cancelled at short notice after Ryanair refused to meet two of the representatives present.

IMPACT subsequently released a statement on Thursday to confirm Ryanair's recognition of IMPACT as the representative of the airline's pilots for collective bargaining purposes, with immediate effect. "Rather, Ryanair is trying to win time and attempting to delay the beginning of collective bargaining", Schumacher said.

But the airline said that when it met with Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) in Germany this week, part of the union's Ryanair Pilots Council contingent included a former Ryanair contract pilot who is in a legal battle with the carrier.

Impact official Ashley Connolly welcomed what she described as a "breakthrough".

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Meetings have taken place this week between Ryanair and IMPACT with the next key meeting scheduled for January 3, where the aim is to agree a recognition agreement that will establish collective bargaining procedures.

"All pilots directly employed by Ryanair will be called to strike", it said.

It went on: "Ryanair has also submitted a set of proposals on pay and conditions, procedures and dispute resolution for its Irish based pilots, and looks forward to concluding an early agreement on these issues with its Irish Ryanair pilot company council". IMPACT confirmed Thursday it had received the written recognition confirmation it requested.

IMPACT had given the airline a midday deadline saying that strike action could be renewed if an agreement was not delivered.

Last week, Ryanair broke from its long-standing policy of refusing to recognise unions.

"My colleagues are now considering that correspondence".

Unions, however, were disappointed that Ryanair did not provide assurance at talks on Tuesday.

And the union added that the danger of strikes by Irish pilots had now receded for the time being.

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