September 12, 2018 / 4:58 AM / 9 days ago

Ryanair pilots, cabin crew in Germany stage strike

BERLIN, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Pilots and cabin crew at Ryanair in Germany started a full-day walkout early on Wednesday to put pressure on management in labour talks with Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier.

Ryanair had said on Tuesday it would cancel 150 out of a total 400 flights scheduled to fly to and from Germany on Wednesday due to the strike and warned that such “wildcat” strikes would lead to job cuts if they continued.

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 says its latest offer to VC addressed all of the union’s demands and that the walkouts were unreasonable.

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.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Thomas Seythal

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