Ryanair pilots strike in Germany and elsewhere in Europe

Ryanair pilots strike in Germany and elsewhere in Europe

Ryanair will appeal to judges in Haarlem on Thursday afternoon in a last-ditch effort to avert a 24-hour strike called by pilots working for the Irish budget carrier in the Netherlands.

Ingolf Schumacher, pay negotiator at Germany's Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, said pilots had to be prepared for "a very long battle" and that it could take months to push through change at Europe's largest low-priced carrier.

Hundreds of Ryanair flights will not take off as planned on Friday due to pilot strikes in five countries.

Around 55,000 passengers would be affected by the strikes, said Ryanair, which has offered customers refunds or the option of rerouting their journey.

The VNV said it has been negotating with Ryanair over a pay-and-conditions agreement for eight months without making any progress. Irish pilots recently staged four one-day walkouts, while cabin crew in Spain, Belgium, Italy and Portugal went on strike on July 25 and 26. Around 22 flights from Eindhoven airport could be hit.

The airline said that over 2,000 flights, or 85 percent of the schedule, would operate as normal and that the majority of passengers affected have been re-booked on other Ryanair services. But since then it has struggled to reach agreements.

Belgium-based Ryanair pilots gather at Charleroi Airport as part of a European-wide strike.

Anyone whose flight is expected to be disrupted will receive an email or SMS text advising them of the news, Ryanair said, with the status of individual flights able to be checked on its website.

Since the it first recognised unions in December 2017, walkouts have been staged multiple times by Ryanair staff in various countries.

Another key complaint of workers based in countries other than Ireland is the fact that Ryanair employs them under Irish legislation, arguing most of its employees work on board Irish planes. This can mean staff based in other European states are unable to gain access to state benefits.

He claimed it made it harder for management to ignore their demands, adding: 'I think it also sends a signal to other companies where workers are played off against each other'.

Last night, Ryanair said "it took every step to minimise disruption" to passengers.

"We want to apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes [sic]".