German union calls for Friday Ryanair strike

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A separate meeting with Portuguese pilot union SPAC on Thursday was "very amicable" he said.

And the union added that the danger of strikes by Irish pilots had now receded for the time being.

"Ryanair continues to play for time and as a result prevents the launch of collective bargaining", said VC negotiator Ingolf Schumacher.

Ryanair shares are marginally in the red Thursday afternoon, despite news the strike threat from Irish pilots has now receded as the budget airline has provided written confirmation it now recognises pilot unions.

The low-priced carrier said it had sent a letter to Impact officials with proposals on pay and conditions and procedures for dealing with industrial relations disputes.

"IMPACT will now immediately start work to make union recognition in Ryanair a practical reality by working with management to establish a formal collective bargaining agreement, and then by using this opportunity to win improved security, terms, and working conditions for the airline's pilots", Connolly added.

Those were the first since Ryanair had offered on Friday to recognise trade unions, prompting the suspension of strike action planned over the busy festive period - when many travellers head overseas for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary had said the carrier wanted to remove "any worry or concern" that passengers' Christmas flights might be disrupted by pilot industrial action.

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The airline and the union will meet on January 3 to agree a comprehensive recognition agreement.

Update 12.04am: Ryanair has written to IMPACT setting out its plans to recognise the pilots'union.

Mr Connolly said the breakthrough was made possible by the resolve of Ryanair pilots.

"It's just a short strike and we don't want to burden passengers too much ahead of Christmas", the VC's Schulz said.

The decision came as it worked to avert a pilots' strike that had been planned for yesterday.

"My colleagues are considering that correspondence, and we'll also obviously be talking to representatives of Ryanair pilots who were also involved in Tuesday evening's meeting".

The union said it was disappointed that management did not put its intention to recognise the union on a piece of paper.

Bellew described the action as a "bolt from the blue" after good dialogue with the union at a meeting on Wednesday and said he would consider working with other unions instead of VC.