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Latest: Ryanair pilots in Germany urged to join strike over pay and conditions

Update 12.05pm: German-based pilots at budget airline Ryanair have been urged to strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The Cockpit union said today that walkouts can be expected "any time starting immediately" but did not give any specific timing and ruled out strikes at Christmas.

It said there will be no strikes between the afternoon of December 23 and December 26.

Cockpit hopes to force Ryanair into negotiations on what it calls "market-appropriate working and pay conditions" for the company's pilots.

It said Germany's TUIfly, which like Ryanair operates a Boeing 737 fleet, offers such conditions.

Cockpit said that Italian and Portuguese pilot unions also have threatened strikes in the coming days, and pilots in Ireland this week voted for industrial action.

Ryanair responded to reports saying, "Ryanair has received no notification of any industrial action by its German pilots so we suspect this is more PR activity by the Lufthansa pilots group VC.

"If any such action takes place, Ryanair will deal with it head on, but we will not deal with or recognise the Lufthansa pilots union VC, regardless of what action – if any – takes place.”

Update 9.15am: A Ryanair pilot strike in Italy could spark similar action here.

Almost all of the 84 directly-employed Dublin based pilots that were balloted have voted in favour of taking action.

They want airline bosses to recognise a single representative body that could negotiate on pay and conditions.

Ryanair says it has received no notice of the ballot result and claims the move is PR activity.

It is not known how many passengers could be affected by industrial action as of yet.

The Irish Airline Pilots Association will meet today to decide its response to the ballot.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary

Staff employed through agencies, individual companies ar as contractor pilots were not covered in the ballot by the Irish Air Line Pilots Association - which is affiliated to IMPACT.

The pilots want to use their new collective European Employee Representative Council in negotiations, rather than the Employee Representative Councils at each of Ryanair's 87 bases.

IMPACT confirmed that of the 84 ballot papers issued, 83 were returned and one was spoiled.

The ballot result found that 79 of the remaining 82 voted in favour of industrial action, while three were against.

Ryanair released a statement saying they have received no notification of any industrial action by its Dublin pilots.

They said: "Less than 28% of Ryanair’s Dublin (over 300) pilots have voted in favour of unspecified industrial action.

"We suspect this is more PR activity by Aer Lingus pilots group IALPA, to distract from their failure in negotiating a paltry 3% pay increase for Aer Lingus pilots.

"Now that Ryanair’s Cork, Shannon and Belfast bases have agreed 20% pay increases we expect the Dublin pilots to follow this trend. However, if Ryanair’s Dublin pilots are misled by some Aer Lingus pilots into industrial action then they will lose their favourable rosters (5on/4off, a double bank holiday every week) and remuneration benefits that are specifically linked by agreement to dealing directly with Ryanair.

"This might be the first time in Irish history that a few Aer Lingus pilots persuade Ryanair pilots earning between €150,000 to €180,000 p.a. to take up industrial action instead of a 20% pay increase when Aer Lingus pilots are only getting 3%.

"If any such industrial action occurs Ryanair will still not engage with, or recognise, Aer Lingus pilots or their IALPA union."