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German Ryanair pilots announce further strike
Last Updated: 2018-09-12 11:11 | Xinhua
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Budget airline Ryanair faces another round of disruptive strike action at its German bases, the trade unions Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) and ver.di announced on Monday night.

The two labor representative bodies, representing both pilots and cabin attendants at Ryanair, are calling all German-based employees of the budget carrier to join a 24-hour-strike on Wednesday which is likely to result in widespread delays and cancellations.

The industrial action marks the first time that the two different categories of Ryanair employees have joined forces to demand better working conditions.

The strike by pilots represented by VC is scheduled to take place from 03:01 p.m. on Wednesday morning and end at 02:59 a.m. (both CET) on Thursday. Ver.di said that around 1,000 flight attendants would also lay down their work at all Ryanair bases during that period.

Ver.di explained its decision to enter into a longer-standing labor dispute between VC and Ryanair as a response to a "completely unacceptable" recent remuneration offer made by the Irish company to flight attendants for the years 2018 until 2021.

"The wages of flight attendants at Ryanair are so low that they do not suffice to cover basic needs," according to a statement by Christine Behle, a member of ver.di's federal executive board.

As recently as August, Ryanair already experienced its largest ever episode of industrial action as pilots from Germany, Belgium, Ireland and Sweden participated in a Europe-wide strike. Across the continent, a total of 55,000 passengers were affected by resulting flight cancellations and delays.

Trade unions have only been officially recognized by management at Ryanair since 2017. The combative Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Micheal O'Leary has repeatedly resisted calls from staff for better pay and working conditions which he warns would endanger the ultra-low-cost business model of Europe's largest budget airline.

VC has already been negotiating unsuccessfully on behalf of German pilots with Ryanair to sign its first ever collective wage agreement since January. Collective wages are widespread and legally binding in Germany as part of the country's "social partnership" model.

The arrangements form part of a post-war political settlement between employer- and employee representatives which granted workers significant rights with regards to their labor conditions and their role in the cooperative management of companies.

While pilots in Ireland and Italy have reached a partial agreement with Ryanair since the strikes in August, VC argued on Monday night that the proposals were not comprehensive enough to apply to Germany's specific regulatory framework.

VC further criticized that Ryanair had insisted on using an Irish mediator to resolve the conflict who was unfamiliar with German labor law.

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