Pilots’ strike

Ryanair cancels 250 flights in Germany

Some 250 Ryanair flights in Germany have been cancelled due to the pilots’ strike that will ground about 400 flights in total in several European countries on Friday.

August 09, 2018
Most Ryanair planes in Germany will be on the ground tomorrow.
Photo: Ryanair

German airline pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit yesterday announced a one-day strike at Ryanair from 3am on Friday until 3am on Saturday in order to step up pressure on management in a widening conflict over pay and working conditions. The strike coincides with further industrial action by pilots in Ireland, Belgium and Sweden tomorrow.

Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said that 96% of Ryanair pilots in Germany voted in favour of industrial action and it expects that all pilots directly employed by the airline will join the strike. It estimates that 90% of the 480 Ryanair pilots in Germany have direct employment contracts with the airline in contrast to other countries where many are officially self-employed.

“Our demands relate to improvements in pay and working conditions,” said VC president Martin Locher. In particular, the union wants a collective pay agreement for pilots based in Germany. But Ryanair had categorically ruled out any increase in staff costs during negotiations, he claimed.

In response, Ryanair announced that it is cancelling 250 flights in Germany on Friday, affecting about 42,000 passengers. This is nearly the complete Friday flight schedule operated by planes stationed in Germany, according to marketing chief Kenny Jacobs.

However, he claimed that about one third of passengers booked on Germany flights would be able to fly as planned since their planes would come from a third country. In addition, pilots stationed at Baden-Baden airport in south-west Germany had pledged to work as normal, Jacobs said. Passengers can re-book flights to another day free of charge or get a fare refund.

Jacobs criticised the strike as “unnecessary” and “unjustified” given that the airline had made a revised offer for a collective labour agreement (CLA) last week. “We regret the decision of the VC to go ahead with this unnecessary strike action given that we sent through a revised proposal on a Collective Labour Agreement (on Fri 3 Aug) and stated our intention to work towards achieving a CLA together. We also invited VC to meet us on Tuesday (7 Aug) but they did not respond to this invitation,” he said.

“We again call on the VC to remove the threat of an unjustified and unnecessary strike, to commit to providing reasonable (7 days) notice of strike action and to accept our invitations to meet for meaningful negotiations on a CLA for our German pilots and minimise disruption to German customers,” he added.

Jacobs claimed that Ryanair pilots in Germany “enjoy excellent working conditions”, earning up to €190,000 a year which is at least 30% more than at Eurowings.

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