* Some Irish-based Ryanair pilots to strike on Dec. 20
* Ryanair recovering from damaging wave of cancellations
* Airline has threatened to cut pay, freeze promotions
(Adds Ryanair response to threatened Irish strike)
By Victoria Bryan and Padraic Halpin
BERLIN/DUBLIN, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Some of Ryanair's
Irish-based pilots served notice of a one-day strike on Tuesday
and German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit said strike action
was also possible in Germany in a growing push for better
conditions at the Irish budget carrier.
Pilots at Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers have
mobilised in the wake of the announcement of 20,000 flight
cancellations by the Irish carrier, which it blamed on a lack of
standby pilots due to a failure in its rostering following a
rule change by Irish regulators.
Pilots are pushing for better conditions at the carrier and
the Irish umbrella IMPACT trade union said Irish-based pilots
employed directly by Ryanair and who are members of the IALPA
pilots union will withdraw their labour on Dec. 20.
The pilots planning to strike were mostly captains, IMPACT
said, predicting either flight disruptions or substantial costs
to the airline. It warned of further strike days if agreement is
not reached on the airline's bargaining with staff.
Ryanair, which does not recognise trade unions, promised to
"face down" the threatened strike which it said involved less
than 28 percent of over 300 pilots based in Dublin.
"Ryanair will deal with any such disruptions if, or when
they arise, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any
upset or worry this threatened action... may cause," it said in
In Germany, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said it would not rest
until Ryanair agreed to a collective labour agreement.
"We want to agree contracts with Ryanair. We see no other
way," VC president Ilja Schulz told reporters in Frankfurt.
Ryanair rejects union representation, saying it prefers to
negotiate with staff directly.
Ryanair, which has offered its pilots substantial increases
in pay that fewer than a third of its 87 bases have accepted,
said it had received no notification of strike action by its
"If any such action takes place, Ryanair will deal with it
head on, but we will not deal with or recognise the Lufthansa
pilots union VC, regardless of what action – if any – takes
place," it said in a statement.
The German union joins those in Italy and Portugal, which
have also announced plans to strike. Italian pilots are due to
stage the company's first ever strike by pilots on Friday.
VC's Schulz declined to say when and where the strikes in
Germany would take place, but that the union would give notice
and that no walkouts would take place from the afternoon of Dec
23 and until the end of Dec 26.
During a long-running dispute with Lufthansa over
pay and conditions, the union typically gave 24 hours' notice of
Several analysts have expressed scepticism as to whether the
Ryanair employment model is under threat.
"We are not saying that this is not a difficult period for
Ryanair and that there are not deep divisions between pilots and
management that are yet to be bridged, however, what we are
saying is that the headlines are worse than the reality on the
ground," Goodbody analysts wrote in a note before the two
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan, editing by Emma Thomasson and
First Published: 2017-12-12 13:37:29
Updated 2017-12-12 17:44:29
© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.