Europe-wide strikes in air traffic around christmas become less likely after the irish low-cost airline rynair has offered to talk to pilots’ unions. The german cockpit union (VC) now wants to negotiate with the company about working conditions.
At the same time, however, the association warned ryanair against taking only symbolic steps. "As soon as we have agreed on short-term negotiation dates for the demanded collective agreements, we will refrain from the planned strike action," union chief ilja schultz said, according to the news agency. Pilots in several european countries had previously threatened walkouts – ryanair then approached the unions.
It was welcomed that the irish now wanted to recognize the VC as the representative body of the ryanair pilots in germany. However, schultz also stressed: "now it is up to ryanair to prove the seriousness of this announcement."If this should turn out to be "purely a stalling tactic, we will respond to it in the strongest possible terms". Previously, the italian pilots’ union anpac had called off a strike planned for this friday for more than four hours.
According to its own information, ryanair has invited the pilots’ unions in ireland, germany, italy, spain and portugal to talks. This is tantamount to a U-turn. Company boss michael o’leary had in the past frequently disagreed with unions and conducted negotiations on working conditions and pay exclusively with local pilot committees at the more than 80 ryanair bases.
However, the company only wants to negotiate with trade unionists who fly for ryanair themselves. Union employees should also be allowed to work as long as they do not work for other airlines, ryanair human resources chief eddie wilson demanded in a letter to the irish union IALPA. Also, the strikes had to be canceled immediately.
In recent months, ryanair pilots throughout europe have been organizing to achieve better and, above all, more binding working conditions. In addition to low salaries, sudden transfers and unexpected changes to duty rosters, the german VC was particularly active against the system of sham self-employed pilots. Unlike the unions in italy, ireland and portugal, it had not yet given a firm date for a possible walkout and had said that talks with ryanair were the express aim of the action.
However, another union in italy – the transport association fit-cisl – said it had not received any notification from ryanair. Therefore, the flight attendants’ strike will still take place on friday, said general secretary nico piras, according to the ansa news agency. Ryanair’s willingness to negotiate only concerns pilots. "I hope ryanair will change direction and reach out to all employees, not just pilots."
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