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Hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled as German and Dutch pilots join strike

The airline said strike action on Friday is “unnecessary”.

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File
Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Aug 8th 2018, 6:18 PM

RYANAIR PILOTS IN Germany and the Netherlands will join a wave of strikes against the no-frills carrier across Europe on Friday, escalating a row over pay and conditions at the height of the summer holiday season.

Germany’s powerful Cockpit union said Ryanair pilots would walk off the job for 24 hours from 1am (Irish time) on Friday.

“We are extremely sorry for the affected passengers. The responsibility lies with Ryanair management,” Cockpit president Martin Locher told a press conference today.

But Ryanair hit back, slamming the “unnecessary” strike action and urging the union to “continue meaningful negotiations”.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Airline Pilots Association said Ryanair pilots based there would go also on strike on Friday.

“This European pilot strike should be a wake up call for the Ryanair management,” it said.

The strike call followed a move by Ryanair to block a walkout by Dutch pilots with a court near Amsterdam’s Schiphol due to consider an injunction tomorrow.

The walkout by German and Dutch pilots piles pressure on the Irish budget airline after pilots in Ireland, Sweden and Belgium also vowed to strike on 10 August, promising major disruptions for thousands of holidaymakers.

Hundreds of flights 

Ryanair said before the announcement of the Dutch strike it would have to axe around 400 out of 2,400 European flights scheduled for Friday, affecting some 55,000 passengers.

Germany will be worst hit with 250 flight cancellations. Friday is the fifth strike day by some of its Irish pilots.

Affected customers are expected to be accommodated on other flights or receive a refund.

Europe’s second biggest airline has been grappling with staff unrest since it recognised trade unions for the first time in December 2017, in a bid to ward off widespread strikes over the Christmas period.

The industrial action is over working conditions and how Ryanair organises transfers of its pilots between bases. There has been much back-and-forth between the airline and Irish trade union Fórsa, with both claiming the other side has refused to meet to resolve the dispute.

© AFP 2018, with reporting by Paul Hosford and Órla Ryan

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