Ryanair Christmas strike may go ahead in Ireland, Italy and Portugal

Ryanair pilots have suspended a pre Christmas one-day strike union bosses have announced

A spokesman said: "Ryanair today confirmed that the German pilot union and IMPACT/IALPA have agreed to Ryanair's offer of meetings to agree union recognition on Wednesday December 20".

As a result of this impasse, Impact said it was not withdrawing notice of a 24-hour pilots' strike at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports next Wednesday, December 20th.

It was announced earlier today that next week's strike action would go ahead unless Ryanair management arranged to meet with IMPACT ahead of Wednesday's strike action.

The carrier said it would recognise these unions "as the representative body for pilots in Ryanair in each of these countries, as long as they establish committees of Ryanair pilots to deal with Ryanair issues, as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines in Ireland or elsewhere".

"They've gotten our offer of recognition in writing and we're happy to meet them next week, which itself is the first act in recognising IALPA", Ryanair said.

Impact, an Irish trade union which represents over 100 Ryanair pilots, mostly captains, called for meetings with Ryanair to clarify precisely what the airline has committed to.

The German pilots union VC also welcomed the news: "This was always about getting them to negotiate, not about strikes", it said in a statement.

The airline was also facing action by pilots in Italy, Germany and Portugal.

Christmas flights are "very important to our customers", O'Leary said in a statement.

Ryanair has never recognised unions, but it said it would change this policy in order to avoid disruption to flights and passengers in Christmas week.

But because it primarily involved captains it had the potential to cause severe disruption as planes can not legally or safely fly without the senior pilot.

Ryanair has previously said that it will not be able to meet with union officials until Wednesday.

Speaking yesterday, CEO Michael O'Leary said the radical U-turn to recognise unions was a bid to avoid travel chaos for customers during Christmas week. "What is needed is a serious reform of its employment practices".

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