Pilots and cabin crew at Ryanair in Germany staged a full-day walkout Wednesday and threatened to continue the strike if the company does not improve working conditions.
On Tuesday, German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) called on all Ryanair pilots working at German airports to walk out for 24 hours, from Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 2.01 a.m. local time to Thursday, Sept. 13, 1:59 p.m. local time.
The Ireland based airline said that it canceled 150 out of total 400 flights scheduled to and from Germany Wednesday due to the strike. Affected passengers were offered alternate flights or a refund.
The workers of Europe’s largest low-cost airline held a strike in August demanding a pay raise and better working conditions. The strike witnessed coordinated walkouts in Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands where 450 flights were canceled.
In August, Ryanair struck a deal with Irish pilots becoming hopeful that it could secure further deals but since then seven trade unions representing workers in Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands threatened to strike in late September unless their demands are met.
The unions have warned it would be "the biggest strike action the company has ever seen".
“Despite the strong signal of the strike action at the beginning of August, negotiations have come to a standstill. We are ultimately expecting solutions,” said Ingolf Schumacher, head of industrial relations for VC.
The airline company retaliated by threatening job cuts if the employees don’t resume their work. Ryanair wrote in a statement responding to VC, “Since we have already offered local contracts and improved pay, there is no justification for further disruption and we are calling on our German pilots to work this Wednesday.”
Michael O’Leary, the CEO of the company said in a press briefing in London, “We will not roll over every time we’re threatened with strikes. We do not want strikes, but we are willing to accept strikes, put up with them, if it means defending our cost base.”
Ryanair had proposed a mediator to negotiate with the striking crew but VC rejected them because the proposed negotiator is Irish and, according to VC lacks, “sufficient knowledge of German law.” and the deal with Ireland cannot serve as a blueprint for Germany because key demands of pay raises and work conditions had not been addressed.