July 2, 2018 / 2:10 PM / a year ago

Ryanair, German union eye further talks during pilots' strike vote

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft is parked at Boryspil International Airport outside Kiev, Ukraine March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German labour union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said it had agreed with Ryanair’s (RYA.I) management to continue negotiations this month, even as it ballots the budget carrier’s pilots in Germany for industrial action.

Ryanair last year agreed to recognise unions for the first time to try to avert strikes and resolve a staffing crunch, but is struggling to reach agreements in some countries.

VC was the first union to carry out a threat to strike at Ryanair last year, although the disruption was limited. The German pilots have until the end of July to cast their votes on whether to stage further walkouts.

VC said in a statement on Monday that while Ryanair’s management had signalled it could make some concessions on the structure of its labour agreements, these should not lead to an increase in staff costs.

“That is in essence a clear rejection for VC. That will not allow for a reduction of the pressure on pilots by adding more staff nor for an increase in wages. We do not need a collective agreement just to keep the status quo,” VC negotiator Ingolf Schumacher said.

Ryanair was not immediately available for comment.

The airline, which operates in 37 countries and last year carried 130 million passengers, has reached pilot union recognition agreements in Britain and Italy, but talks have stuttered in Spain and Ireland, two of its biggest markets.

A vote by pilots in Ireland on whether to take industrial action is due to end on Tuesday.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Additional reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mark Potter

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