German union calls for strike by pilots at Ryanair

A union is calling on German-based pilots at budget airline Ryanair to strike in a dispute over pay and conditions, though it says there will be no walkouts in the days around Christmas.

The Cockpit union said Tuesday that walkouts can be expected "any time starting immediately" but didn't give any specific timing. It said there will be no strikes between the afternoon of Dec. 23 and Dec. 26.

Cockpit hopes to force Ryanair into negotiations on what it calls "market-appropriate working and pay conditions" for the company's pilots. It said Germany's TUIfly, which like Ryanair operates a Boeing 737 fleet, offers such conditions.

Cockpit said that Italian and Portuguese pilot unions also have threatened strikes in the coming days, and pilots in Ireland this week voted for industrial action.