Ryanair's Dutch Pilots Back Strikes as Labor Conflict Worsens

(Bloomberg) -- Ryanair Holdings Plc pilots in the Netherlands followed their German colleagues in voting in favor of strikes, raising pressure on the discount giant already smarting from walkouts last week in five other countries in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Nearly all flight deck crew backed “possible” industrial action, the Dutch Airline Pilots Association said in an email Tuesday. No strike dates have been decided by the union, which represents 40 Ryanair pilots at Eindhoven airport. The outcome came a day after German pilots also threw their support behind labor action.

While talks for a Ryanair collective labor agreement in the Netherlands are still ongoing “we are losing hope for a positive outcome,” the union said in the statement. “Ryanair needs a ‘wake up call’ and a strike in the Netherlands might be the only solution.”

The move follows a ballot in Germany which gave a similar result and provides further evidence that more employees are growing disgruntled. The carrier was forced to cancel around 600 flights last week due to strikes by Irish pilots as well as cabin crew in Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Italy. Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary, who made an about-turn in December by agreeing to recognize unions, had warned investors to expect industrial action during the critical summer travel season.

According to Dutch union rules, pilots are required to give 12 hours notice ahead of any strike, shorter than the 24 hours required in Germany. The union is demanding that Ryanair abide by local labor laws, end involuntary transfers of staff to other countries, provide sick pay, and improve the company’s pension plan, a spokesman said by phone. The union is known by the Dutch acronym VNV.

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