RYANAIR pilots in Germany have voted to strike in a dispute over pay and conditions, in yet another blow to the Irish budget airline and its passengers this summer.
Some 96 percent of Die Vereinigung Cockpit e.V. (VC) members voted in favour of industrial action today, with the union setting Ryanair an August 6 deadline to negotiate.
Any action will be announced 24 hours in advance so travellers can make alternative arrangements, VC said.
Irish-based pilots have to give their employer seven days notice for a walkout - but flight crews in Germany are only required to give a day's warning.
VC is demanding conditions for its pilots similar to those found at comparable airlines such as TUIfly.
The union has called for a higher base salary and higher sick pay, as well as equal pay across all of Ryanair's 11 German bases.
"To avoid industrial action, we are offering Ryanair a final deadline to submit a workable proposal by August 6," said Ingolf Schumacher, VC's chairman of industrial relations.
"Unfortunately, so far Ryanair has not made any proposal with which we could work.
"Since the start of our negotiations in January, Ryanair has been playing for time and even if Ryanair is not taking this ballot seriously, industrial action like in other European countries, seems unavoidable in Germany as well".
Schumacher added: "We implore upon Ryanair to reverse its present way of behaving like a wrong-way driver towards pilot and cabin crew unions throughout Europe."
A Ryanair spokesman said: "We have written to the VC today (30 July) and invited them to another meeting next week.
"We hope we can make further progress in concluding a collective labour agreement with our pilots in Germany."
Ryanair was forced to cancel more than 600 flights last week amid industrial action by Irish pilots and cabin crew in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium.
The airline has now invited Irish pilots' union Fórsa to talks ahead of a potential day of further strikes on Friday, August 3.
Around 20 of Ryanair's 300 flights due to take off on Friday have already been cancelled in anticipation of the walkout.