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In Germany Ryanair faces first-ever pilot strike

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German Ryanair pilots will strike for the first time Friday, union leaders said, dialing up the heat in a Europe-wide battle for recognition from the no-frills airline ahead of the busy holiday period.

The Irish carrier urged passengers to head to airports anyway, saying it had asked pilots to show up for duty and pledging to do its “upmost to minimise any disruptions”.

Germany’s powerful Cockpit union said pilots would hold a four-hour “warning strike” at German airports from 5-9 am (0400-0800 GMT) after initial talks with the airline were cancelled at short notice.

“All pilots directly employed by Ryanair will be called to strike,” Cockpit said, as national news agency DPA estimated the strike would affect some 16 flights with a total of 3,000 passengers.

If the call is heeded, it will mark the first industrial action by Ryanair pilots in the company’s 32-year history.

Ryanair said it “sincerely regrets” the move, calling the industrial action “unjustified and unnecessary” as it had assured the union earlier in the day to continue talks on a collective labour agreement.

The airline said it “apologises sincerely to any German customers worried or affected by this threatened four hour strike” but urged them to stick with their travel plans.

“We advise all customers in Germany to turn up as normal tomorrow, as we plan to operate all scheduled flights, and we will be doing our upmost to minimise any disruptions to the Christmas travel plans of our German customers,” said a statement by the company’s Robin Kiely.

Walk-out threats

The union Cockpit (VC) said Ryanair broke off the first scheduled talks this week because it objected to two of the five union members at the table, which it charged proved the company had “no desire to enter into constructive negotiations”.

It accused Ryanair of playing for time to avoid upheaval over the hectic Christmas and New Year period.

“Ryanair’s public offer to conduct negotiations with VC can only be classified as a further publicity stunt,” said Ingolf Schumacher, head of Cockpit’s industrial department.

Ryanair last week took the unprecedented step of offering to finally recognise unions after crew in Germany, Ireland, Britain, Italy, Spain and Portugal threatened walkouts in long-running rows over pay and conditions.

The move eased tensions but unions warned that strikes remained an option if the Dublin-based carrier was not serious about the discussions.

Just hours before the German strike call, Ryanair was able to stave off year-end travel chaos on home soil after clinching a deal with Ireland’s Impact union.

The union there said the danger of industrial action had “receded for the present” after Ryanair agreed to formally recognise Impact as the representative for the airline’s pilots.

But it cautioned that it expected management to reach agreement on procedures quickly so that the parties could move on to negotiate “substantial issues” around pilots’ pay and working conditions.

Turning point

In Germany, Cockpit said it regretted the travel disruptions and urged passengers to contact Ryanair about the impact on flights.

“In the history of the VC, there has never been a case in which the collective bargaining autonomy has been trampled on by an employer as it is now the case with Ryanair,” it added.

Ryanair’s decision to move towards trade union recognition marks a historic turning point, given that pugnacious boss Michael O’Leary — in charge since 1994 — had vehemently opposed any union representation for staff.

But he came under increasing pressure after the airline was forced to cancel 20,000 flights through to March because of botched holiday scheduling.

The fiasco triggered pilots’ demands for better working conditions and representation, with some departing for other carriers.

Ryanair’s conditional offer to recognise pilot unions prompted unions in other European countries to suspend their strike plans.

The Italian union Anpac said it planned to meet with Ryanair representatives in Rome in January.

Ryanair, Europe’s second-largest airline by passenger numbers, has set itself the goal of transporting 200 million passengers annually by 2024.

Despite the recent troubles, it still expects to deliver annual profits after tax of 1.40 billion-1.45 billion euros ($1.65 billion-1.71 billion).

24 Hours Across Africa

Facebook suspends thousands of apps in response to Cambridge Analytica row

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Facebook Inc said, it has suspended tens of thousands of apps on the social networking platform, as part of the company’s ongoing app developer investigation it began in March 2018 in response to the Cambridge Analytica row.

The suspended apps are associated with about 400 developers, Facebook said, adding that it is not necessarily an indication that these apps were posing a threat to users.

Earlier this year, the company agreed to pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to resolve a government probe into its privacy practices.

The FTC privacy probe was triggered last year by allegations that Facebook violated a 2012 consent decree and inappropriately shared information of 87 million users with British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook has since agreed to boost safeguards on user data and has put curbs on the amount of information that third-party developers can request from platform users.

“… We’re making progress. We won’t catch everything, and some of what we do catch will be with help from others outside Facebook,” the company said in a blogpost.

Source: Reuters

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24 Hours Across Africa

Female robber escaping through a window at the bank

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A female robber trying to escaping through the window after robbing a bank in Adum area of Kumasi in Ghana.

In the video, the lady threw the money down from the window and jumped down to get the money, but she was caught and arrested by the bank’s security operatives.

The details of the lady is still unknown as at the time of filling this report

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