Passengers travelling with Ryanair in Germany saw little disruption from a four-hour strike called by a pilots’ union, with most flights leaving as scheduled, and only some delays.
Germany’s powerful Vereinigung Cockpit union had asked Ryanair pilots to walk off the job from 4am-8am local time in a battle for recognition from the airline whose workers have been calling for better pay and conditions across Europe.
But the first-ever strike action by Ryanair pilots in the company’s 32-year history appeared to have made little impact, with no cancellations reported.
At Germany’s busiest travel hub, Frankfurt airport, all six scheduled Ryanair flights left as planned, according to the DPA news agency.
Flights left mostly as planned at Berlin-Schoenefeld airport also, where seven departures were on the board. The 6.40am flight to Italy’s Bergamo, however, was delayed by five hours.
At the Cologne/Bonn airport in western Germany, at least one Ryanair flight to Copenhagen suffered from the strike action with passengers being told to expect a 10-hour delay.
The union said it was pleased with the response to its strike call, which had forced Ryanair to scramble to bring in pilots from abroad.
“The strike participation has been absolutely satisfactory,” a union spokesman said.
In a statement, Ryanair said: “Nine of our 36 first wave flights operating from Germany this morning were delayed, but there have been no cancellations, and Ryanair expects to operate all of our German scheduled flights today.
“We are grateful to all of our Ryanair pilots for putting our customers first and largely ignoring this VC strike.”
The union’s negotiations with Ryanair ended without results on Wednesday, with the union saying Ryanair representatives had refused to engage with two of VC’s representatives at the talks.
Ryanair Chief Operations Officer Peter Bellew said yesterday they were surprised by the decision to strike and he urged pilots to respect that it was Christmas time and to get people home on time.
Yesterday, IMPACT said the airline had confirmed in writing that it recognised the union as the representative of pilots at the airline.
The union said it will meet Ryanair management on 3 January to agree a comprehensive recognition agreement that will establish collective bargaining procedures at the airline.
As a result, the danger of industrial action by Irish-based pilots has receded.
IMPACT said it expects Ryanair to reach agreement on procedures quickly to allow both sides move on to negotiations on pay and conditions.
The union called off planned strike action after Ryanair last week announced that it would recognise trade unions for the first time, but it said it would reverse the decision unless written confirmation was supplied.