Ryanair strikes deal with German pilot union | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 04.12.2018
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Ryanair strikes deal with German pilot union

Ryanair has struck a deal with the German pilots' union which has been one of its most vocal foes during a year of industrial disputes, strikes and cancellations.

Ryanair has announced that it has reached agreement with the German pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) over wages, benefits and working conditions.

The four-year deal comes following a lengthy period of tensions and negotiations between the Irish budget airline and the union, which represents many of the carrier's German-based pilots.

The deal includes provisions on pay, pensions, pilot allowances and annual leave, but detailed documentation on the agreement is not expected to be available until the end of February.

Read more: Ryanair seeks soft landing as strikes continue

Crucially, the agreements will apply German labor laws and not Irish labor laws — where Ryanair is based — for the airline's German-based pilots. This demand to apply local labor laws has been a central sticking point in the many industrial disputes that have beset the airline over the past year.

News of the agreement follows a deal struck last month between Ryanair and the German trade union Verdi, which applies to German-based cabin crew. That deal also confirmed that German labor law would apply in their cases, as well as delivering pay increases over the next two years.

Calm after the storm

Since a major cancellations crisis in late 2017 was followed by several industrial disputes across Europe for Ryanair throughout 2018, the airline has been trying to reach agreement with various trade unions — a far cry from its previous policy of not recognising the workers' groups.

The agreement with VC is a particularly significant one, given that the union has consistently been at loggerheads with Ryanair. A number of German-based strikes have hit Ryanair over the past year, while Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair, has regularly decried VC as a "Lufthansa trade union."

Talks between the pair had previously broken down on several occasions but the latest deal reflects the renewed urgency with which Ryanair has approached industrial disputes in recent months, with a view to ending the uncertainty which has beset it with regard to potential strikes.

Ryanair recently agreed deals with unions in Ireland and Italy and also has accepted demands from Spanish unions to hire local staff there on Spanish contracts.

Ryanair's motivation to strike deals has no doubt been influenced by a fall in its share price and the fact that the airline was moved to issue a profit warning back in October.

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