Ryanair took the decision to cancel nearly 100 further flights today after German pilots announced strike action at the last minute.

The airline had already cancelled 150 flights due to industrial action by cabin crew in Spain, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Italy and Germany.

The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilot union in Germany announced yesterday it would join the strike, causing the carrier to announce another wave of cancelled flights. 

VC members have staged a series of walk-outs in recent months in a disagreement over pay and conditions.

The carrier says about 35,000 of its 450,000 passengers have been affected by the disruption brought by the two strikes.

Ryanair condemned the move, claiming it had written to the head of the VC union following seven hours of negotiations earlier this week. However, Dutch pilots union VNV said the offer to move staff to local contracts was only verbally made.

The carrier claims it has agreed to arbitration with the VC union, to find an arbitrator within seven days, a four or five-week arbitration and an offer to meet in Dublin next week to finalise these agreements.

It also says this is “another example” of a strike being organised by unions controlled by “competitor airline employees” – a statement Ryanair believes exempts it from having to pay compensation to affected passengers under EU261 rules.

Peter Bellew, COO of Ryanair, said: “It is deeply disappointing that some of our customers and our people in Germany tomorrow will have their flights disrupted by an unnecessary strike called at short notice by the Lufthansa-controlled VC union.

“Having spent over seven hours in direct negotiations with the VC in Frankfurt on Tuesday, and having provided them with written agreement on their demands within 24 hours, it is deeply regrettable that the VC [called] another unnecessary strike within five hours of receiving our letter.”

Bellew also claimed the strike would “not be well supported by Ryanair pilots or cabin crew in Germany”, adding that the carrier had written to its German pilots with a copy of the correspondence with the VC union.

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