Ryanair pilots in Germany signal strike action
Move follows planned pre-Christmas pilot stoppages in Republic and Italy
Ryanair check-in counter at Berlin Schoenefeld. Photograph: Epa/Hayoung Jeon
Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), the German pilots’ union, is one of a number in Europe that told Ryanair in recent days it will strike in a dispute over representation rights at the airline.
Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association – part of trade union Impact – in Ryanair will strike next Wednesday, December 20th. Italian pilots plan a four-hour stoppage on Friday.
VC’s director of international affairs James Phillips indicated that the union favoured taking action within the same timeframe as the strikes planned in Italy and the Republic.
VC has not said when it would strike, but ruled out action between December 23rd and 26th. Mr Phillips noted that in light of the action planned in the Republic and Italy, it would make less sense to strike on December 27th.
He explained that the union could strike at any point as it has already followed notice procedures required by German law, including outlining its grievances to the company. VC is likely to give 12-24 hours’ strike notice to Ryanair.
Mr Phillips estimated that Ryanair has between 370 and 390 pilots in Germany and that more than half of them are members. “Every day there are new applications coming in. They are joining to support the action,” he said.
He pointed out that local law also allows Ryanair pilots who are not members of the union to strike, so its action could potentially hit the airline’s entire German operation.
Spanish aviation union Sepla said on Wednesday that it was organising members in Ryanair, while Portuguese pilots have signalled they are considering taking action.
Ryanair said it does not comment on rumour or speculation. The planned strikes are part of a campaign by Ryanair pilots for a new collective bargaining system at the airline, to replace the current employee representative councils which negotiate for staff at each of its 80-plus bases in Europe.
Ryanair refuses to deal with the new organisation that pilots want to represent them, the European Employee Representative Council(EERC), saying its current system has Supreme Court approval.
The airline also maintains that pilots at a large number of its bases, including Cork and Shannon, have voted in favour of pay rises of up to 20 per cent.