German pilots to vote on strike action at Ryanair

VC union says talks with airline have failed, strikes possible from August

German labour union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said it would start balloting Ryanair pilots for industrial action, raising the prospect of strikes from August, after it declared negotiations with the airline as failed.

Ryanair last year agreed to recognise unions for the first time in a bid to avert strikes and resolve a staffing crunch, but is struggling to reach agreements in some countries.

VC was the first union to carry out a threat to strike at Ryanair last year, although the disruption was limited.

"We have given them six months to find solutions, showing a great deal of patience towards Ryanair. That's over now," VC negotiator Ingolf Schumacher said in a statement on Wednesday.


Mr Schumacher said Ryanair had failed to understand that it could no longer unilaterally impose working conditions on staff.

The union is using conditions at German leisure carrier TUIfly, whose pilots also fly 737 jets, as a base for its demands, VC said.

The union said it would be available for talks while balloting goes on through the end of July should Ryanair want to restart talks on acceptable pay and conditions.

Ryanair, which operates in 37 countries and last year carried some 130 million passengers, has reached pilot union recognition agreements in Britain and Italy, but talks have stuttered in the Republic and Spain, two of its biggest markets.

Its Irish pilots’ union on Tuesday extended a ballot on industrial action by two weeks, saying its members wanted more time to consider the move, which could lead to a strike.

Ryanair was not immediately available for comment. – Reuters