Ryanair's Italy staff threaten December strike

Italian pilot union ANPAC on Wednesday said its Ryanair pilots had declared a four-hour strike for December 15.

A Ryanair spokesman meanwhile told AFP in London that the carrier regularly received strike threats in Italy and Portugal. ANPAC's members represent around 40% of the Ryanair pilots based in Italy.

But Ryanair wants to continue negotiating salaries and working conditions individually with each of its bases and refuses to recognise unions.

Capt Evan Cullen, the union's president, said: "The pilot issues which gave rise to the flight cancellations earlier this year have not been adequately addressed".

Responding to the decision in Portugal, the Irish Air Line Pilots" Association (IALPA) said its members were "currently examining their options'.

"While we support a pilot's entitlement for fair representation we can not prejudice this dispute or endanger its process by speculation".

Ryanair has been busy recruiting additional pilots to make up the shortfall, and in October tempted former manager in charge of pilots, Peter Bellew, back to Ireland from his post as chief executive of Malaysia Airlines. We stand as one.

Ryanair cancelled 20,000 flights affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers as a pilot shortage caused chaos during the busy summer travel season. "Treat us accordingly", the video said.

The airline has never been subject to a pilot strike, although baggage handlers took industrial action briefly in 1998, and the company does not recognise trade unions.

Ryanair brushed off the prospect of fresh disruption, saying that previous threatened strikes hade failed to materialise.

"Both we and our pilots ignore these letters", it said in a statement.

The notice of strike action from Anpac comes as Ryanair pilots around Europe step up action in an effort to force the carrier to engage in collective bargaining across its nearly 90 bases. ANPAC said it was not yet clear how many of its pilots were scheduled to fly at that time.

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