Ryanair RYA.I has agreed to meet with German pilot union VC on January 5, a spokesman for the airline said on Thursday, hours after the union sent a memo to members telling them to keep their phones on for possible news on a strike.
Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), a German pilot trade union which represents a number of Ryanair pilots in the country, said the "warning strike" will affect all flights operated out of German airports during that four-hour period.
In a statement this afternoon a Ryanair spokesperson said the company had written to the Impact union this morning confirming in writing that it is recognising Impact and its Ryanair Company Pilot Council.
VC were in Dublin this week with a view to meeting Ryanair and avoiding industrial actionbut the VC said in Thursday's statement that the talks were canceled at short notice because Ryanair refused to engage with two of the five VC members present at the negotiations.
Ryanair last week took the unprecedented step of offering to finally recognize unions after crew in Germany, Ireland, Britain, Italy, Spain and Portugal threatened walkouts in long-running rows over pay and conditions.
"Ryanair continues to play for time and as a result prevents the launch of collective bargaining", said VC negotiator Ingolf Schumacher.
"Ryanair will continue to engage with the VC union and its German pilots to try to agree a CLA in early January, so tomorrow's four-hour strike serves no goal other than to disrupt thousands of German passengers in Christmas week, exclusively so that the VC can impose a non-elected, non-Ryanair pilot (who is now suing the airline) on its Ryanair Pilots Council", the company said.
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has said the decision to recognise unions was his idea.
"In the history of the VC, there has never been a case in which the collective bargaining autonomy has been trampled on by an employer as it is now the case with Ryanair", it added.
The fiasco triggered pilots' demands for better working conditions and representation, with some departing for other carriers.
IMPACT has accepted an invitation from Ryanair management to meet on 3 January "to agree a comprehensive recognition agreement that will establish collective bargaining procedures in the airline".
Union representatives and pilots met with airline management for the first time on Tuesday in a dramatic shift of its policy not to deal with unions.
Ryanair, Europe's second-largest airline by passenger numbers, has set itself the goal of transporting 200 million passengers annually by 2024.