In about-face, Ryanair recognizes unions to avert strikes


LONDON (AP) — Budget carrier Ryanair is reversing its longstanding refusal to recognize pilots’ unions in a bid to avert strikes over the busy Christmas season.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary says the airline wants to ease customers’ concerns “that they may be disrupted by pilot industrial action next week.”

Ryanair pilots in Ireland and Germany have both voted to take industrial action over the holiday season in disputes over pay and conditions. Italian and Portuguese pilot unions have also threatened strikes in the coming days.

The airline said earlier this week that it would not deal with or recognize the unions.

But O’Leary said Friday that if the best way to avoid strikes “is to talk to our pilots through a recognized union process, then we are prepared to do so.”

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