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Ryanair pilots in Sweden to strike, Belgians may join

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Ryanair pilots in Sweden to strike, Belgians may join

Ryanair pilots in Sweden to strike, Belgians may join
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PAUL HANNA(Reuters)
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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair pilots in Sweden will go on strike on Aug. 10, the Swedish Airline Pilots Association said on Wednesday, citing management's failure to meet with union representatives for more than eight months.

Ryanair has experienced recent strikes in some of its bigger markets including Spain, Portugal and Ireland and faces planned action in Germany as the budget carrier struggles to reach collective labour agreements across Europe.

The Irish airline, Europe's largest by passenger numbers, has responded by threatening to move jobs away from any bases impacted by the stoppages, beginning with Dublin where it cut its winter fleet by 20 percent last week.

In Belgium, where Ryanair cabin crew have already gone on strike, unions called on pilots there to support their Irish colleagues with a strike on Aug. 10.

Ryanair, which operates from 86 bases in 37 countries and carried 130 million passengers last year, decided to recognise unions for the first time in its 32-year history last December to avert widespread strikes before Christmas.

"Ever since Ryanair announced that it will be recognising unions for pilots all over Europe, the developments have been similar everywhere," the Swedish union said in a statement.

"No collective agreements have been agreed anywhere in Europe and Ryanair's hostile relations with its employees once again showed on several occasions, lately through intimidation and threats to Irish pilots after they used their legal right to strike."

Ryanair said it had written to each of pilot unions in recent days and invited them to discuss their grievances.

"In the interim, we have requested these pilot unions to give us seven days' notice of any planned strike action so that we can minimise the disruption to our customers by cancelling flights in advance and offering them alternative flights or refunds," the company said in a statement.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)

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