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Ryanair Threatens to Close Crew Bases in Germany After Pilots Narrowly Reject Pay Cuts

Ryanair Threatens to Close Crew Bases in Germany After Pilots Narrowly Reject Pay Cuts

Unions Claim Ryanair Chairman Doesn't Have Nearly As Much Support As Airline Reported

Ryanair has told its German pilots that it will close a crew base at Frankfurt Hahn International Airport and will look at also shuttering its bases at Berlin Tegel and Dusseldorf airports after pilots narrowly rejected a pay deal on Tuesday. Around 170 pilots are employed by Malta Air in Germany, a subsidiary of Ryanair, on behalf of the Irish low-cost airline.

“We must move on with alternative measures to deliver savings, which regrettably will mean base closures and dismissals,” the airline told pilots in a memo sent shortly after the result of the ballot was announced.

The proposed pay deal was rejected by just 0.6 per cent. Negotiators for Malta Air had suggested extending short-time working arrangements to help save jobs but the new contract would also only pay pilots for flight hours actually worked and at a much-reduced rate than before. In addition, Malta Air wanted concessions with increased productivity.

“We do not give up hope. The employer would be well advised to get back to the negotiating table quickly now,” the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots union said in response to the memo.

The union noted that Ryanair is currently eyeing up a number of takeoff slots that Lufthansa will need to temporarily relinquish in order get hold of a €9 billion government-backed bailout. If Ryanair is successful, it may well need more pilots stationed in Germany.

Ryanair said 70 per cent of pilots at other bases across Europe had already signed up to the proposed deal, although in some bases the airline has bypassed unions in order to do deal with pilots directly.

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