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Ryanair inks new deals with unions in Europe

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Ryanair has inked deals with more unions across Europe, the Irish no-frills airline said Friday as it looks to avoid further strike action threatened by pilots and cabin crew.

[LONDON] Ryanair has inked deals with more unions across Europe, the Irish no-frills airline said Friday as it looks to avoid further strike action threatened by pilots and cabin crew.

"These signed agreements with our pilot unions in Portugal, the UK, Italy and shortly in Spain, demonstrate the considerable progress we're making in concluding union agreements with our people in our major EU markets," Ryanair's head of human resources Eddie Wilson said in a company statement.

But the latest agreements are only a stepping stone toward the key demand of Ryanair staff outside Ireland that the airline stop employing them under Irish legislation.

Employees argue that the status quo creates huge insecurity for them, blocking access to state benefits in their own countries.

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Ryanair's statement came one day after Belgian unions representing the airline's cabin crew threatened "several strike days before the end of the year" by Europe-wide employees.

Ryanair pilots across Europe staged a 24-hour stoppage in September to push their demands also for better pay and conditions, plunging tens of thousands of passengers into transport chaos at the peak of the busy summer season.

In July meanwhile, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.

Earlier this month, Ryanair slashed its profits forecast and signalled job losses in the Netherlands and Germany as it reported on the fallout of the pan-European strikes.

An update on its earnings outlook and past performance is due Monday when Ryanair publishes half-year results.

AFP