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Ryanair pilot strike grounds 400 flights across Europe
11 August 2018, 06:38 | Austin Hogan
Kenny Jacobs Ryanair’s chief marketing officer at a news conference in Germany yesterdayRALPH ORLOWSKI REUTERS
A spokesperson said: "Despite regrettable and unjustified strike action taking place in 5 of our 37 markets on Friday (10 Aug), over 2,000 Ryanair flights (85% of our schedule) will operate as normal tomorrow carrying nearly 400,000 customers across Europe".
Around 250 flights have been cancelled as a result, forcing passengers who planned on travelling on Friday to rebook or take different routes.
Officials said flights should return to normal Saturday.
A walkout called by German union Cockpit accounted for many of Friday's cancellations. 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.
A Dutch court on Thursday evening rejected a case from Ryanair seeking to block pilots in the Netherlands from joining the strike, affecting about 22 flights.
Ryanair, which averted widespread strikes before last Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history, has been unable to quell rising protests over slow progress in negotiating collective labour agreements.
The action is the latest in a series of disagreements between Ryanair management and staff after the firm recognized its employee unions in late 2017 and entered into negotiations. Ryanair had filed for an urgent court order to prevent industrial action by pilots in the Netherlands.
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Europe's largest low-priced airline recognized unions in December, but talks have so far failed to produce agreements on improved working conditions, or for contracts to be governed by the laws of the country where workers are based, rather than by Irish legislation.
Unions also want the airline to give contractors the same work conditions as staff employees.
The unions are demanding a raise in salaries, unions say, alongside the issuing of more secure working contracts that are valid in each pilot's country of residence (which they claim does not always happen).
Ryanair has repeatedly said it remained open to further talks with pilot representatives. Ryanair will then be forced to cancel 400 of its 2,400 planned flights that day.
But chief executive Michael O'Leary has also warned the airline may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas if the turmoil continues.
"In its update, Ryanair said: "[We] took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund, or reroute options.
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