The German pilots’ union VC struck Ryanair on Friday, December 22, 2017 for four hours affecting 16 flights. The walkout was Ryanair’s first pilots strike.
Ryanair reversed its non-union stance and agreed earlier this month to recognize the unions. VC has now agreed to meet with the company in January 2018.
The VC union issued this statement on December 19, 2017 announcing the first strike:
The German based pilots of the airline Ryanair founded a Company Council on December 19, 2017 under the umbrella of the German Airline Pilots Association (Vereinigung Cockpit) (VC).
For the first time, Ryanair pilots are organizing themselves in Germany in order to avoid the airline’s questionable treatment of its employees. The goal will be to positively influence Ryanair’s employment conditions. “What is self-evident for other employees in Germany, we must first achieve at Ryanair,” says a member of the Company Council. “Decent employment contracts instead of atypical employment is one of the main goals of the Company Council.”
Based on the principle, pilots for pilots, the Company Council is composed of active Ryanair pilots representing all groups. Members include Captains and First Officers who are directly employed as well as working for Ryanair on the so-called “Contractor model”. To protect the Company Council from possible reprisals from Ryanair, the members of the Council will remain anonymous for the time being.
The current situation at Ryanair creates uncertainty within the pilot body and puts unusual pressure on the employees. The on-going court trials and investigations, including many house searches in Germany, show just how dramatic the situation is for the Ryanair pilots.
“The founding of the Ryanair Company Council clearly shows that the airline’s pilots are no longer willing to accept the doubtful methods used by their employer. In the future, they will act united to achieve their basic employee rights,” says Ilja Schulz, president of the German Airlines Pilots Association.
“In Germany we have workers’ rights which apply to all pilots based here. Ryanair must finally acknowledge this. Ryanair pilots must be able to express their wishes and concerns about working conditions and salary without fear of discrimination from the management, ” says Schulz.
The newly formed group benefits from the long-standing experience of the German Airlines Pilots Association in aviation safety and employee representation within the aviation industry.
Previously Ryanair issued this statement on December 21, 2017:
Ryanair sincerely regrets receiving notice of a threatened 4 hour pilot strike (from 5am to 9am) in Germany on Friday, December 22, 2017. This disruption called by the VC pilot union is unjustified and unnecessary when Ryanair wrote earlier this morning to the VC (copy attached) agreeing to meet them again in Frankfurt as requested on Friday, January 5, 2018 to progress the negotiations on a Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) for Germany.
At Ryanair’s meeting with the VC and their Ryanair Pilots Council on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, the VC confirmed that the Ryanair Pilots Council had not been elected by Ryanair’s pilots, and contained one former contract pilot who had not flown for Ryanair for 15 months, who is currently in litigation with Ryanair in Germany. Ryanair explained that it was happy to negotiate with its German pilots and the VC officials but it would not enter into negotiations with non-Ryanair pilots, or a non-Ryanair pilot who is in litigation with Ryanair.
Ryanair has written to its German pilots this afternoon asking them to work as normal tomorrow to avoid disrupting the travel plans of thousands of German passengers during Christmas week. 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 4 hour strike serves no purpose other than to disrupt thousands of German passengers in Christmas week solely, so that the VC can impose a non-elected, non-Ryanair pilot (who is currently suing the airline) on its Ryanair Pilots Council.
Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said:
“Ryanair apologises sincerely to any German customers worried or affected by this threatened 4 hour strike tomorrow morning. We hope that our German pilots will put the needs of our customers first during Christmas week. 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.”
Copyright Photo: Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS WL EI-EBB (msn 37519) (Comunitat Valenciana) RAK (Robbie Shaw). Image: 922177.