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RYANAIR

‘A step towards improved conditions’: Ryanair strikes deal with German cabin crew union

Ryanair has forged a preliminary labour agreement with German cabin crews, the low cost airline said on Thursday, after strikes over employment contracts caused widespread disruption earlier this year.

'A step towards improved conditions': Ryanair strikes deal with German cabin crew union
Ryanair staff during a walkout at Frankfurt Airport on September 28th this year. Photo: DPA

The deal with union Verdi “will lead to pay improvements and other benefits for our German based cabin crew, subject to them voting in favour of this agreement over the coming week,” Ryanair head of personnel Eddie Wilson said in a statement.

The deal, which is now subject to a cabin crew ballot, does not cover pilot crew who are represented by cockpit union VC.

German cabin crew were among those who took part in a pan-Europe walkout in September — seeking higher wages and an end to the practice whereby staff work under mostly Irish contracts, not those of the country they reside in.

After crew staged strikes in Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands,Portugal and Spain labour organisers claimed to have grounded more than 190 flights.

“After a year of negotiations, Verdi sees this agreement as a step towards improving the working conditions of employees and their wages,” said a Verdi spokeswoman.

SEE MORE: When are airline passengers in Germany entitled to flight compensation?

She indicated that the union still finds aspects of the Dublin-headquartered airline's position “problematic” but said that members' decision to accept or rebuff the agreement would be taken after 13 November.

On Thursday, Ryanair also announced Italian staff had voted 88 percent in favour of an agreement with the three main cabin crew unions in that country.

“These are further concrete signs of the substantial progress Ryanair is making in concluding agreements with our people and their unions in many different EU countries,” Wilson added in the statement.

This summer strikes by cockpit and cabin crew in Italy, as well as Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and Spain disrupted 600 scheduled flights and plunged 100,000 travellers into chaos.

In October Ryanair cut its annual profits forecast by 12 percent owing to the cancellations.

Ryanair lowered its estimate for annual profits after tax to €1.10-1.20 billion from a range of €1.25-1.35 billion euros
for the coming financial year concluding next March.

Strike action has also caused turbulence among high-level staff at the firm.

During the company's annual general meeting in September governance was called into question by shareholders.

Ryanair recognised cabin crew unions for the first time in June.

The move was taken after the firm was forced to cancel 20,000 flights between September 2017 and March 2018 owing to pilot shortages and pay concerns.

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CHRISTMAS

Strikes hit Amazon in Germany in the run up to Christmas

Around 2,500 Amazon employees at seven sites across Germany were on strike on Tuesday and unions warned stoppages could continue up to Christmas.

Amazon parcel in factory
A parcel rolls along a conveyor belt at an Amazon packing facility in Gera, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bodo Schackow

The strikes at so-called “fulfilment” centres, where Amazon prepares packages before delivery, began in two locations on Monday.

The Verdi union is calling on Amazon for an “immediate” salary increase of three percent this year, followed by a further 1.7 percent next year, in line with a collective agreement for the retail sector, to which the e-commerce giant does not adhere.

Amazon could not continue to “refuse wage increases that other companies in the sector pay”, Verdi retail head Orhan Akman said in a statement Monday.

Amazon, which operates 17 centres in Germany, argues it is a logistics company, a sector in which the terms of work are considered to be less burdensome for the employer.

Amazon said it did not expect the strike to have an impact on clients.

However, a Verdi spokesman said the stoppage could cause disruption, particularly in Amazon’s rapid-delivery “Prime” offering.

Strikes were likely to continue “until the end of the year”, the spokesman said, impacting on the busy Christmas shopping period.

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Verdi, which first called for strikes at Amazon in May 2013, organised demonstrations outside the fulfilment centres on Tuesday to protest poor working conditions.

Amazon — which has seen its business boom during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers increasingly shopped online — announced in September that it would open eight new centres in Germany, creating 3,000 jobs by 2022.

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