Ryanair faces strike threats in Germany, Ireland

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BERLIN (AP) — A union called Tuesday on German-based pilots at budget airline Ryanair to strike in a dispute over pay and conditions, while the carrier's Irish staff voted for industrial action on Dec. 20.

The Cockpit union said that walkouts in Germany can be expected "any time starting immediately" but didn't give any specific timing. It said there will be no strikes between the afternoon of Dec. 23 and Dec. 26.

Cockpit hopes to force Ryanair into negotiations on what it calls "market-appropriate working and pay conditions" for the company's pilots. It said Germany's TUIfly, which like Ryanair operates a Boeing 737 fleet, offers such conditions.

Cockpit said that Italian and Portuguese pilot unions also have threatened strikes in the coming days. And the Irish trade union Impact said pilots in Ireland this week voted for a day of industrial action on Dec. 20 that will mostly involve captains.

Cockpit union chairman Ilja Schulz said it was giving Ryanair "a last chance" to avoid strikes by declaring its readiness to negotiate.

Ryanair said it had received no notification of any industrial action by pilots in Germany and suspects that "this is more PR activity" by the union.

"If any such action takes place, Ryanair will deal with it head on, but we will not deal with or recognize," the Cockpit union, it added in an emailed statement, "regardless of what action — if any — takes place."

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