Pilots strike at Ryanair; 400 cancellations across Europe

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Ryanair is bracing for its biggest-ever one-day strike on Friday with pilots based in five European countries set to walk out, forcing the cancellation of about one in six of its daily flights at the height of the holiday season.

"In its letter to VC dated last week, Ryanair management confined itself to repeating and summarising what they considered to be the most relevant negotiating positions instead", the union said.

But some people took to Twitter to complain at how Ryanair handled the debacle after their flights were canceled.

Speaking at a press conference in Frankfurt the same day VC held its own, Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said the German union should "remove the threat of an unjustified and unnecessary strike".

"Pilots are not nomads who put up tents wherever Ryanair wants to operate", union negotiator Ingolf Schumacher said.

Ryanair pilots will also be striking in Belgium, Ireland and Sweden today.

Among their demands, which include sick leave and pension schemes, the European unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation.

Ryanair built its low-priced business model without unions but said a year ago it would recognize them.

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Across Europe, a total of 55,000 passengers are affected by the latest episode in a long-standing labor dispute at Ryanair.

As many as 250 flights across Germany have been hit, with the airline having earlier this week announced an additional 146 cancelled across Ireland, Belgium and Sweden.

The strike affects flights to and from Eindhoven Airport on Friday.

Staff are holding a 24-hour walkout over pay and conditions.

The airline already suffered a round of strikes by cockpit and cabin crew last month that disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers. 'The strike may go ahead, ' a judge said.

"We asked VC to provide us with at least seven days' notice of any planned strike action so that we could notify our customers of cancelled flights in advance and offer them alternative flights or refunds, but they have refused to do this".

Staff say this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

The airline has responded to the Irish action by cutting its winter fleet there by 20 percent and putting over 300 employees on preliminary notice.

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