German pilots strike ‘cornerstone’ deal with Ryanair

A German union on Tuesday said its pilots had agreed the outlines of a deal with Ryanair for better pay and conditions, calling off further industrial action for now.

German pilots strike 'cornerstone' deal with Ryanair
Ryanair employees went on strike in August for better pay from the airline. Photo: DPA

A German union on Tuesday said its pilots had agreed the outlines of a deal with Ryanair for better pay and conditions, calling off further industrial action for now.

The breakthrough in the long-simmering row comes after German pilots staged a series of strikes in recent months that caused major disruptions for the Irish budget carrier, which has faced staff unrest across Europe.

The powerful Cockpit union (VC) said its members had agreed a “cornerstone” deal with a view to signing final collective labour agreements by March.

“Until then, no industrial action will be taken,” VC said in a statement.

The deal includes a higher basic salary for pilots, making them less dependent on the variable part of their wages.

SEE ALSO: 'A step towards improved conditions': Ryanair strikes deal with German cabin union

All German-based pilots will also be given German labour contracts rather than being employed under Irish legislation, VC said, resolving a key bone of contention.

German cabin crew, who are represented by a different union, already agreed a deal with Ryanair last month that will boost salaries and guaranteed flight hours.

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

But a wave of industrial action by cabin and cockpit crew since then has dented profits.

The walkouts included two coordinated pan-European strikes that led to hundreds of flight cancellations.

In a bid to end the tensions, the no-frills airline has so far managed to clinch labour agreements with staff in several countries including Britain, Portugal and Italy.

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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.


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.