Ryanair strikes widen as German pilots vote for stoppages

German pilots working for Ryanair have overwhelmingly voted to strike as they push for collective labor agreements at Europe’s largest low-cost carrier. (Reuters/Paul Hanna)
Updated 30 July 2018

Ryanair strikes widen as German pilots vote for stoppages

  • Ryanair management had met with the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilot union in Frankfurt last week
  • Ryanair said in response it had on Monday invited the union to another meeting next week

BERLIN: German pilots working for Ryanair have overwhelmingly voted to strike as they push for collective labor agreements at Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, their union said on Monday, adding to Ryanair’s recent strike woes.
Ryanair management had met with the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilot union in Frankfurt last week. VC said the talks ended without the progress they had hoped for.
The union is giving Ryanair until Aug. 6 to make another offer, VC said in a statement, announcing it would hold a press conference on Aug. 8 to discuss its next steps.
Ryanair said in response it had on Monday invited the union to another meeting next week.
“We hope we can make further progress in concluding a collective labor agreement with our pilots in Germany,” the carrier said.
Ryanair said in December it would recognize unions for the first time but has been struggling to reach agreements with some. It canceled flights after strikes last week by Dublin-based pilots and stoppages by cabin crew in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium.
It also said it planned to shift aircraft and jobs out of Dublin, saying that strikes by Irish pilots had harmed bookings.
Ryanair pilots across Europe are demanding more transparent systems for promotions and transfers to reduce what they say is excessive management discretion over their careers, while cabin crew want local contracts and better conditions.
Ryanair says it offers some of the best conditions among low-cost carriers in Europe and its CEO Michael O’Leary said last week the company would not concede to demands that would impact its low fares business model. Strikes were one of the reasons it gave a more downbeat assessment of summer fares.
VC said 96 percent of Ryanair pilots in Germany voted in favor of strike action. It will give at least 24 hours’ notice of any strikes, it said.
“Ryanair has been playing for time in the negotiations since January,” VC said. “If the signal given by this vote is not taken seriously, then strikes — such as in other European countries — are inevitable.”
German pilots were the first to strike at Ryanair last year, but the disruption was limited.


France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

Updated 08 December 2019

France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

  • Macron government will discuss a global digital tax with Washington at the OECD, says finance minister

PARIS: France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge US President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on French goods in a row over a French tax on internet companies, its finance minister said on Sunday.

“We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches US companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 3 television. Paris has long complained about US digital companies not paying enough tax on revenues earned in France.

In July, the French government decided to apply a 3 percent levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with more than €25 million in French revenue and €750 million ($845 million) worldwide. It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.

Washington is threatening to retaliate with heavy duties on imports of French cheeses and luxury handbags, but France and the EU say they are ready to retaliate in turn if Trump carries out the threat. Le Maire said France was willing to discuss a global digital tax with the US at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but that such a tax could not be optional for internet companies.

“If there is agreement at the OECD, all the better, then we will finally have a global digital tax. If there is no agreement at OECD level, we will restart talks at EU level,” Le Maire said.

He added that new EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni had already proposed to restart such talks.

France pushed ahead with its digital tax after EU member states, under the previous executive European Commission, failed to agree on a levy valid across the bloc after opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The new European Commission assumed office on Dec. 1.