February 9, 2018 / 12:13 PM / 10 days ago

Ryanair staff called to strike in Italy, but pilots to keep flying

ROME/DUBLIN (Reuters) - Three Italian unions confirmed on Friday their call to Ryanair (RYA.I) workers to strike for four hours on Feb. 10, according to a statement, while Italy’s main pilots union, ANPAC, said it would not participate.

Ryanair confirmed in December it will recognise unions for all staff but has said it wants to formalise relations with pilot unions first, something it is struggling with in some countries.

It has agreed a recognition deal with British pilot union BALPA, but Spanish union SEPLA this week said management was not negotiating in good faith.

Ryanair operates from 87 bases across Europe, flying to 210 airports with a fleet of 430 aircraft.

The Cgil, Cisl and Uil unions in Italy, representing mainly cabin and ground crew, said they would walk out because they have not been included in contract negotiations with the Ireland-based budget airline.

Italian pilot union ANPAC said it would not participate because it is currently in talks with Ryanair, including for a pay increase.

Ryanair’s chief operations officer Peter Bellew was in Rome this week and on Twitter described the meeting with the pilots’ union as good.

    ANPAC official Riccardo Canestrari said he was hopeful for a deal in the coming weeks.

    “Talks are proceeding with a good attitude,” he said. “We are slowly solving all the problems.”

    He said most pilots in Italy had not yet signed up to the 20 percent pay increase on offer - a bone of contention in Ireland where the rejection of the offer has stalled the start of talks - and that Ryanair had agreed it would be included in a final deal.

    Ryanair pilots in several countries mobilised after the company announced in September the cancellation of around 20,000 flights, which it blamed on a lack of standby pilots.

    The possibility of strikes overshadowed the carrier’s quarterly results on Monday, with Ryanair saying it would face down “laughable demands”, even if it led to walkouts.

    Reporting by Steve Scherer and Conor Humphries; Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Isla Binnie and Kirsten Donovan

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