Ryanair pilots in Germany are going on strike just before Christmas

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Ryanair RYA.I has agreed to meet with German pilot union VC on January 5, a spokesman for the airline said on Thursday, hours after the union sent a memo to members telling them to keep their phones on for possible news on a strike.

"Ryanair will continue to engage with the VC union and its German pilots to try to agree a CLA in early January, so tomorrow's four-hour strike serves no objective other than to disrupt thousands of German passengers in Christmas week, exclusively so that the VC can impose a non-elected, non-Ryanair pilot (who is now suing the airline) on its Ryanair Pilots Council", the company said.

"All pilots directly employed by Ryanair will be called to strike", it said.

Earlier Thursday, Ryanair said it planned to hold more talks with the German union next month.

"If the best way to achieve this is to talk to our pilots through a recognised union process, then we are prepared to do so, and we have written today to these unions inviting them to talks to recognise them and calling on them to cancel the threatened industrial action planned for Christmas week", he said. We advise all customers in Germany to turn up as normal tomorrow, as we plan to operate all scheduled flights, and we will be doing our upmost to minimise any disruptions to the Christmas travel plans of our German customers.

"Rather, Ryanair is trying to win time and attempting to delay the beginning of collective bargaining", Schumacher said. It added that it hoped that meeting would "resolve these issues which Ryanair expects will lead to a collective labour agreement for Ryanair's pilots in Germany".

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"In the history of the VC, there has never been a case in which the collective bargaining autonomy has been trampled on by an employer as is now the case with Ryanair".

IMPACT had given the airline a midday deadline to provide formal recognition, saying that strike action could be renewed if an agreement wasn't delivered.

Ryanair said separately that it had formally recognized Impact while also submitting proposals on issues including pay and dispute resolution.

Passengers should consult the Ryanair.com website for the latest updates, it said.

Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary, who softened a longstanding anti-union stance last week, is under pressure to follow through on promises to recognize unions for pilots and flight attendants as he seeks to head off labor strife.