'Further strike action cannot be ruled out' - Forsa

10.25pm: The union representing Irish based Ryanair pilots says further strike action cannot be ruled out.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary.

Around 100 of them walked off the job for a 5th day today – while 24-hour pickets are also being held in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Ryanair has cancelled one in six flights as a result – calling the action unjustified and regrettable.

Angela Kirk from the trade union Forsa says they will put their best foot forward at crunch talks next Monday.

At this stage, the likelihood of further action cannot be written off. However, we have not served any further days notice of strike. We want to go into the talks in a positive vein. Obviously, the outcome of those talks will determine future action, she said.

Update 3.30pm: Ryanair's Irish pilots 'more determined than ever' as 5th strike underway

Ryanair’s Irish based pilots say they are more determined than ever, as they strike for the 5th day.

The airline has been forced to cancel 400 flights across Europe with pickets also underway in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Crucial talks with industrial relations expert Kieran Mulvey will take place in Dublin on Monday aimed at resolving the dispute.

Bernard Harbour from the trade union FORSA is hoping a deal can be reached.

He said: "Despite the fact we've been at this a month now, the resolve of the pilots is strengthened and the key thing there was the week before last when the company threatened to make pilots redundant or transfer them to Poland.

"That really changed the mood among the pilots, we are not going to have a situation where they try to frighten us into stepping down."

Earlier: Pilot strikes see hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled

Hundreds of Ryanair flights will not take off as planned on Friday due to pilot strikes in five countries.

Staff in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands are staging a 24-hour walkout over pay and conditions.

Around 250 flights have been cancelled as a result, forcing passengers who planned to travel on Friday to rebook or take different routes.

The Irish budget airline said the strikes were “regrettable and unjustified” and called for unions to come back to the negotiating table.

Despite the walkouts, 85% of its scheduled flights, more than 2,000, will operate as normal, Ryanair said.

“Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options,” the carrier said.

“The majority of customers have already been accommodated on another Ryanair flight.

“We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes.”

One customer described the airline as a “headache”, complaining they had had difficulty getting a quick response after contacting the firm on their live chat.

A sign outside the company headquarters at Swords in Dublin (Aoife Moore/PA)

They tweeted: “#ryanair cancelled my flight in the last min because of pilots strike. They offer me to change my tickets online which it’s not possible because of their system crash. Noone is on the phone and livechat. They even don’t do a refund. Ryanair is an headache.”

Another customer said she would miss work meetings and a doctor’s appointment due to a cancelled flight.

She wrote: “Many thanks to @Ryanair for cancelling my flight home + ensuring all of the de-stressing I have done on this trip is cancelled out in an instant.”

In June Ryanair signed an agreement with the Unite union, giving hundreds of cabin crew employees full consultation rights and collective bargaining.

The airline said at the time that it was “a further sign of the progress Ryanair is making with trade unions since our December 2017 decision to recognise them”.

The Unite agreement came six months after the airline signed what was described as an “historic” recognition deal with the trade union representing pilots.

Under the agreement,  the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) was recognised as the sole trade union representing all of Ryanair’s 600 employed pilots based in the UK.

Bernard Harbor from the FORSA trade union says both sides are still some way off reaching a deal.

"We believe that this is a problem that can be resolved through negotiations," said Mt Harbor.

"I have to say that the experience of pilots so far is that the company is not being prepared to grapple with the issues and that's why they feel that they've been forced into yet another day of strike action today."

- PA & Digital Desk

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