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German pilots to vote on Ryanair strike

The powerful German union Vereinigung Cockpit says talks have broken down and strikes could happen from August.

Compounding Ryanair’s intensifying problems with strikes by air traffic controllers in France and Spain, now the German union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) is starting to ballot Ryanair pilots to stage a strike of their own.

This raises the possibility of strikes from August, the news agency Reuters reports, as VC declares that negotiations with the low-cost carrier have failed.

Ryanair agreed last year to recognise unions for the first time in its history, in an effort to avoid looming future strikes and solve staffing problems. But in some countries this appears to be backfiring as it is struggling to reach agreements.

It has reached pilots’ union recognition deals in the UK and Italy but not yet in Spain or Ireland. Pilots in Ireland are also considering strike action.

Also last year, VC was the first union to strike against Ryanair, though disruption was limited.

“We have given them six months to find solutions, showing a great deal of patience towards Ryanair. That’s over now,” the union’s negotiator Ingolf Schumacher declared.

Ryanair has failed to understand that it can no longer force its working conditions on employees, he added.

Basis for demands
The union is using working conditions at the German leisure airline TUIfly, whose pilots also fly Boeing 737s, as a basis for its demands for Ryanair.

Balloting will continue until the end of July, but the union says it is still available for talks on “acceptable pay and conditions” if Ryanair wants to restart negotiations.

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