Ryanair faces strike threats in Germany, Ireland

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In a statement, Ryanair said it had received no notification of any industrial action by its German pilots, adding that it "suspect this is more PR activity by the Lufthansa pilots group VC".

Although the action involves around 80 of the 300 plus Dublin-based Ryanair pilots, Impact says it will cause disruption because planes can not legally or safely fly without a captain.

Ryanair has pledged to face down what are set to be its first strikes by some of the low-priced airline's Dublin- based pilots just days before Christmas.

Several unions across Europe have been preparing for industrial action in a demand for better conditions at Ryanair, with its pilots in Italy due to stage the company's first ever strike by pilots later this week.

Trade union the Irish Air Line Pilots' Association announced that a majority of its 84 Ryanair-employed members backed industrial action in a secret ballot which took place this weekend.

Ryanair said it would "face down" the strike, though it admitted some "disruption may occur".

While IMPACT only balloted around 84 directly employed pilots, they are predominantly captains, without whom planes can not fly.

Ryanair told its Dublin pilots last week it would freeze promotions, cut cash allowances and possibly move pilots to alternative bases if they voted in favour of a strike.

Impact, the Irish pilots' union, said the dispute was "solely about winning independent representation for pilots in the company", said official Ashley Connolly.

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

"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".

However, pilots argue that this weakens their bargaining power and they want to negotiate collectively through a new joint European Employee Representative Council (EERC).

The airline said: "Ryanair will deal with any such disruptions if or when they arise, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any upset or worry this threatened action by less than 28% of our Dublin pilots may cause them over the coming days".

The union has also not ruled out further strike days if agreement is not reached.

Ryanair said IALPA's own numbers showed it had the support of less than 28% of Ryanair's more than 300 Dublin pilots.

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