March 6, 2018 / 2:26 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Ryanair sees Easter, summer disruption as union talks drag

* CEO says close to labour agreements in Spain, Italy

* Says labour talks in Ireland, Portugal not making progress

* COO says meeting scheduled with German union VC next week

* Early talks have taken place with cabin crew unions - COO (Adds exec comments on labour talks in Germany)

BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters) - Ryanair expects some disruption to flights in the coming months, notably into and out of Ireland and Portugal, as it discusses union recognition and working with pilot unions, chief executive Michael O’Leary said on Tuesday.

The airline averted widespread strikes ahead of Christmas by announcing plans to recognise pilots’ unions for the first time in its 32-year history and is talking with unions across Europe on formal recognition.

“We are very close to concluding agreements in Spain and Italy and expect them to be finalised within the next month,” O’Leary told a news conference in Brussels.

“We’re not making as much progress in other countries, most notably Ireland and in Portugal. We expect some disruptions, possibly over Easter, maybe over the summer period,” he said.

Chief Operations Officer Peter Bellew said at a separate news conference in Berlin that Ryanair expected to achieve a collective wage agreement in Germany over the coming months.

A meeting has been scheduled with German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) for next week, he said.

The union had called the first-ever pilots strike at Ryanair in December, saying it did not believe Ryanair was serious about negotiating with unions.

Ryanair has not yet sought similar collective agreements with staff other than pilots, though Bellew said there had been some early discussions with unions representing cabin crew. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Samantha Koester; Additional reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and David Evans)

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