Spanish pilots' union SEPLA has broken off talks with Ryanair over a union recognition agreement and says it plans to file a lawsuit against the airline over contracts in Spain. 

Ryanair decided in December to recognise unions for the first time.

While it has come to agreements in Britain and Italy, it is still working towards deals with unions in other major centres such as Ireland and Spain. 

"We regret to inform you that, at today's meeting, the negotiations with Ryanair's management have been broken off as they have not accepted our minimum requirements document, 90% of which corresponded to their proposals," SEPLA said.

SEPLA, which says it represents around 500 of 800 Ryanair pilots based in Spain, said Ryanair did not want to allow union members three days a month to carry out union duties. 

It had previously threatened legal action but suspended it to carry out talks with Ryanair. 

"We don’t comment on negotiations with our people," Ryanair said in a statement this afternoon.

In a memo from April 19 and reviewed by Reuters, Ryanair had said the remaining issue was time off duties for the pilots committee but that there appeared to be little between the two sides and so it was hopeful of an early conclusion. 

Separately, Ryanair's newly-formed transnational pilot group held its first meeting and gave pilots a list of items to negotiate with Ryanair to ensure fair working conditions, such as base transfer protocols. 

"These are actually very reasonable requests to allow fair working conditions and to solve Ryanair's pilot retention issues," Dirk Polloczek, president of the European Cockpit Association said on Twitter.

"We can now hope that this constructive attitude will be matched by Ryanair management in their talks with the national pilot unions."