Dutch Ryanair pilots plan Friday strike as carrier takes union to court

Kenny Jacobs chief marketing officer of Ryanair during a news conference in Frankfurt Germany

Pilots across Germany, Ireland, Belgium and Sweden will down tools on Friday and walk out amidst a deepening row with management at the airline.

An estimated 50,000 passengers are understood to have been informed of cancellations, the majority of whom have been re-accommodated on alternative flights.

Ryanair has so far cancelled 20 Irish flights, 104 Belgian flights, 22 Swedish flights and 250 German flights scheduled for Friday so far.

It is understood that Ryanair, while it agreed a year ago to recognise unions, has not yet established any collective employment deals across Europe.

Ryanair pilots are striking in five European countries, forcing the cancellation of a sixth of the firm's flights during the holiday season peak.

The action is the largest in a series of strikes over pay and conditions.

Ryanair has also confirmed that all affected customers have been notified.

Ryanair slammed the strike as "unnecessary".

Ryanair operates more than 2,000 flights a day, serving 223 airports across 37 countries in Europe and North Africa, and insists it will not change the low-priced model that transformed the industry and has made it Europe's most profitable airline.

Disgruntled cabin crew issued a list of 34 demands, ranging from "a fair living wage" to "not being forced to open an Irish bank account".

Ryanair said in a statement last evening that despite what it called the "regrettable and unjustified" strike action taking place in 5 of its 37 markets, over 85% of its schedule will operate as normal today.

But there have been protests ever since over the negotiating of collective labour agreements.

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