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Low-cost airline wants to rethink closings in Germany

Ryanair had announced that it would close several bases in Germany. Now the dispute over the wage cuts with the workforce seems to be settled – and there could be a U-turn.

The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair wants to rethink the announced closure of the German locations in Frankfurt-Hahn, Düsseldorf and Berlin-Tegel. The cockpit union union (VC), which had initially rejected the required salary cuts, changed its mind over the weekend, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said on Monday.

85 percent of the pilots and 75 percent of the cabin staff are now in agreement with the temporary cut of 20 percent. VC has given in to pressure from pilots who are worried about their jobs in the face of the Corona crisis. A VC spokesman said the talks were still ongoing. He didn’t want to comment on details.

Ryanair threatened to cut 3,000 jobs

According to the union, more than 170 pilots would have been affected by the closure of the three bases. Frankfurt-Hahn im Hunsrück should be abandoned on November 1, Düsseldorf and Tegel after the end of the summer season. “After accepting the weekend agreement, we’ll look at it again,” O’Leary told investors.

Ryanair had threatened to cut 3,000 jobs, but suggested the number could be lower if wages were cut. The low-cost airline had promised to take the cuts back in 2024. O’Leary now said Ryanair would use the additional flexibility to move capacity as needed.

According to the British BBC, Ryanair originally wanted to save 20 percent of their salaries. It should have been five percent of the lowest-paid members of the cabin crew.

Ryanair successful with a similar strategy in Vienna

Ryanair had followed a similar strategy for the Austrian subsidiary Laudamotion – with success. After initial opposition, the unions of pilots and flight attendants agreed to losses. Ryanair had previously threatened to end the Vienna location with its approximately 300 employees. According to the Austrian newspaper “Standard”, those 94 employees who voted against the agreement will be fired.

All airlines have been hit hard by the pandemic collapse in air traffic and are massively cutting jobs. Air traffic in Europe came to a complete standstill in the meantime.

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