Ryanair pilots in Ireland have announced strike action just days before Christmas.

Trade union the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association announced that a majority of its 84 Ryanair-employed members backed industrial action in a secret ballot which took place this weekend.

Ryanair was told of the strike – which will take place on 20 December – at lunchtime on Tuesday.

Although Stansted is Ryanair’s largest base, it is headquartered in Dublin, and the Irish strike is likely to cause disruption to flights during the busy Christmas period.

Ryanair has 360 pilots based in Dublin.

The Irish contingent join Ryanair pilots in Italy and Germany in voting for industrial action.

Italy-based pilots plan a four-hour strike this Friday, 15 December. Those working for Ryanair, Vueling and Alitalia will take part, as well as air traffic controllers. Ryanair will strike from 1pm to 5pm.

It is the second strike announcement for the Italians. Last month they planned a similar stoppage, but cancelled it at the last minute.

Today, German pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) announced that a Ryanair strike “can be expected at any time”. Pilots across the airline’s 87 European bases are campaigning for better conditions. Ryanair has offered pay rises, but fewer than a third of its bases have accepted.

The German trade union promised to avoid striking over Christmas, from 23-26 December.

Striking days beforehand will mean planes and crew in the wrong places, and the run-on effect could be disastrous for the holiday getaway.

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