Ryanair warns that German walkouts will lead to job cuts
* Pilots, cabin crew in Germany to strike on Wednesday
* Ryanair cancels 150 out of 400 German flights
* Says strikes can only damage its business in Germany
(Adds flight cancellations, management comments)
By Patricia Weiss
FRANKFURT, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Irish low-cost carrier
Ryanair said on Tuesday that "wildcat" strikes by pilots
and cabin crew in Germany would lead to job cuts if they
continued, after unions called for a full day of walkouts on
Europe's biggest budget carrier is cancelling 150 out of a
total 400 flights scheduled to fly to and from Germany on
Wednesday due to the strike, Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer
Kenny Jacobs told a news conference in Frankfurt.
"These are wildcat strikes designed to cause maximum
disruption to our customers and maximum damage to the Ryanair
business," he said, adding that Ryanair management was willing
to resume negotiations anytime.
"But if we have these lightning strikes it's going to be
difficult to operate on a normal basis in Germany," Chief
Operations Officer Peter Bellew told the same news conference.
German pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) has called on
Ryanair to agree to mediation in its dispute over pay and terms,
but there has been disagreement over who the mediator should be.
Ryanair's Jacobs said the airline was willing to enter
mediation with the pilots and believed it had offered VC
everything it had asked for.
Ryanair aims to have all of its German pilots on direct
employment contracts by the end of the year, up from 80 percent
now, Jacobs added.
Earlier, in a statement, Jacobs said continued strikes would
lead "to base cuts and job cuts for both German pilots and cabin
crew, particularly at some secondary German bases, which are
loss-making during the winter season".
The Irish carrier has come under fire from unions,
especially in Germany, for its practice of employing some pilots
via third-party agencies, such as McGinley Aviation. The airline
last year decided to recognise unions in an attempt to improve
relations with its pilots and ease a staffing crunch.
German services union Verdi is seeking a substantial pay
increase as well as local contracts for around 1,000 cabin crew
at Ryanair. It said management had, however, offered local
contracts only from 2022.
The carrier suffered its worst ever strikes this summer, but
secured a breakthrough in August when it reached a deal with
Irish pilots and said it was hopeful it could secure deals in
other markets soon.
Last week, however, seven trade unions representing Ryanair
cabin crew in Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and the
Netherlands threatened to hold a strike in late September unless
the airline agrees to improve working conditions.
Sweden's Air Line Pilots Association (SPF) is considering
taking Ryanair to court and does not rule out further strike
action, Chairman Martin Lindgren told Reuters on Tuesday.
The union objects to Ryanair's insistence that pilots be
represented in negotiations by Ryanair staff or SPF staff not
employed by a rival airline. Ryanair argues that EU competition
rules prevent it from disclosing business secrets to union
representatives employed by competitors, he said.
(Writing by Maria Sheahan; additional reporting by Conor
Humphries in Dublin, Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm and Nadine
Schimroszik in Berlin
Editing by Thomas Seythal and Gareth Jones)
First Published: 2018-09-11 12:55:27
Updated 2018-09-11 16:01:43
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