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RYANAIR

Ryanair cabin crew in Germany back labour deal

German cabin crew have approved a proposed labour agreement hashed out with Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, the Verdi union said, ending months of deadlock and strike threats over better pay and conditions.

Ryanair cabin crew in Germany back labour deal
A Ryanair plane at an airport in West Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

The influential Verdi union said members voted “by a large majority” on Tuesday to back a deal struck with Ryanair management last week that will raise crews' basic salary by €600 a month, alongside other pay increases and guaranteed working hours.

The deal, which still needs to be finalized by the end of the month, also switches German staff from Irish to local labour contracts, addressing a key gripe among Ryanair staff across Europe.

Verdi board member Christine Behle hailed the outcome as “a great success” and praised Ryanair cabin crew for “fighting for their rights”.

But she condemned Ryanair's refusal to accept a so-called works council, a body within a company that represents workers and an important feature in Germany's corporate world.

The labour agreement does not apply to Ryanair pilots, who are being represented by German cockpit union VC.

The hard-fought deal comes after German cabin crew joined a pan European walkout in September they say forced Ryanair to cancel more than 190 flights. 

SEE ALSO: Almost 40 percent of Ryanair flights in Germany cancelled

A 24-hour strike by German cabin and cockpit crew earlier that month also forced the cancellation of 150 Ryanair flights.

Ryanair only began recognizing unions for the first time in its 30-year history last December, to avert mass strikes during the busy Christmas period.

It has since been hit with a wave of industrial action that has dented profits.

The budget carrier has so far managed to clinch labour agreements with staff in several countries including Britain, Portugal and Italy.

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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.

READ ALSO: 

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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