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Ryanair row deepens as European pilots strike

Reuters

Belgian Ryanair pilots take part in a protest at Brussels South Charleroi Airport on Friday during a wider European strike at the airline to protest slow progress in negotiating a collective labor agreement.

AFP-Jiji FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP-Jiji) — Ryanair is bracing for mass travel disruptions on Friday as pilots across Europe begin a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions at the peak of the busy summer season.

The Irish no-frills airline said it would be scrapping about 400 out of 2,400 European flights scheduled for Friday as pilots in Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands walked off the job.

Around 55,000 passengers would be affected by the strikes, said Ryanair, which has offered customers refunds or the option of rerouting their journey.

Ryanair has slammed the strikes as “unnecessary,” but pilots counter that the carrier has refused to engage in meaningful dialogue about collective labor agreements since it began recognizing unions in December 2017.

Germany will be worst hit by the industrial action, with 250 flight cancellations at 10 airports.

The country’s powerful Cockpit union said it had called on Ryanair’s roughly 480 Germany-based pilots to walk out from 3:01 a.m. until 2:59 a.m. Saturday.

It accused Ryanair of “categorically” ruling out higher personnel costs for cockpit crew, leaving no room for a compromise.

“Ryanair alone is responsible for the escalation we are now seeing,” Cockpit President Martin Locher told a press conference on Wednesday.Speech

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