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Ryanair pilots to strike in run up to Christmas

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Europe’s largest airline faces a wave of industrial action across Europe

Ryanair’s Irish-based pilots have announced they will go on strike in the days running up to Christmas

Many of Ryanair's pilots have rejected a pay rise – StockphotoVideo / Shutterstock Ryanair strike pilotsMany of Ryanair’s pilots have rejected a pay rise – StockphotoVideo / Shutterstock

They join pilots in Germany and Italy in their decision to take industrial action to push for better conditions following Europe’s largest airline’s scheduling crisis at the end of the summer which saw 20,000 flights cancelled.

Irish pilots will strike for one day starting at lunchtime on Wednesday 20 December. Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) notified Ryanair this afternoon.

The action is part of a wave of direct action by Ryanair’s pilots across Europe. The German pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), announced that a strike “can be expected at any time”, and pilots based in Italy plan a four-hour strike on Friday 15 December.

The Independent reports that the Italian action will involve staff from Ryanair, Vueling and Alitalia, as well as air traffic controllers.

It is thought that such action could have a wider impact on the company’s flight schedules over Christmas. This is because planes and crew will be in the wrong location.

Ryanair, which does not recognise trade unions, has said that the Irish ballot represented less than 28 per cent of its pilots based in Dublin and warned they would lose favourable rosters and remuneration benefits, according to Reuters.

The company also said that they had not received a notification from VC, who stated that they would not take action over Christmas.

Pilots based in Germany, Italy and Ireland will take industrial action over the coming weeks –  JJFarq / Shutterstock Ryanair strike pilotsPilots based in Germany, Italy and Ireland will take industrial action over the coming weeks – JJFarq / Shutterstock

Dublin-based pilots backed industrial action by 94 per cent to 6 per cent in secret ballots.

IALPA said in a statement: “The airline has so far refused to recognise the European Employee Representative Council or IALPA, and insists that any discussion of pay and working conditions be conducted through management-controlled ‘employee representative councils’.”

Strike action is expected to continue over the coming months. Ryanair has made an offer to increase pilots’ pay. However, this has been accepted in less than one-third of its bases.

VC said it would not rest until Ryanair agreed to a collective labour agreement. “We want to agree on contracts with Ryanair. We see no other way,” VC president Ilja Schulz told reporters in Frankfurt, according to Reuters.

This afternoon, Ryanair said in a statement: “Ryanair is surprised that IALPA has threatened to disrupt Christmas week travel when IALPA’s own numbers confirm that it has the support of less than 28% of Ryanair’s over 300 Dublin pilots, and when Ryanair’s Belfast, Cork and Shannon bases have already agreed these 20% pay deals.

“While some disruption may occur, Ryanair believes this will largely be confined to a small group of pilots who are working their notice and will shortly leave Ryanair, so they don’t care how much upset they cause colleagues or customers.

“Ryanair has already confirmed that any Dublin pilots who participate in this industrial action will be in breach of the Dublin pilots base agreement and they will lose those agreed benefits which arise from dealing directly with Ryanair, including the 5on/4off rosters, certain pay benefits and promotion opportunities until such time as they choose to return to the 25 year established practice of dealing directly with Ryanair.”

Customers of Kiwi.com who may be affected by the strike are advised to contact Customer Support via chat, email, or by phone. Due to high volumes of incoming contacts, the waiting time might be longer than usual. Thank you for understanding.

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