Ryanair pilots based in Germany have overwhelmingly backed strike action in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The German-based pilots have voted by 96% in favour of strike action over their pay and conditions.

The union representing Ryanair pilots in Germany, VC, has warned that if the airline does not take its ballot result seriously, industrial action as seen in other countries will be inevitable in Germany too. 

VC has given the airline until Monday 6 August to submit a workable proposal for negotiation, noting that talks last Friday broke down without agreement.

VC has pledged to give at least 24 hours notice of a strike to allow the travelling public time to make other arrangements. 

VC's Chairman of Industrial Relations Ingolf Schumacher accused Ryanair of playing for time, and of behaving like a "wrong-way driver" towards pilot and cabin crew unions throughout Europe.

The union will hold a press conference in Frankfurt on Wednesday 8 August. 

In a statement this evening, Ryanair has said it has invited the union to a meeting next week.

"We have written to the VC today and invited them to another meeting next week.

"We hope we can make further progress in concluding a collective labour agreement with our pilots in Germany," they said.

Over 80% of Ryanair's German-based pilots are direct employees.

It means that a German stoppage could create more disruption than the recent industrial action in Ireland, where only a quarter of Ryanair pilots are directly employed and able to strike.

Around 100 Irish-based pilots are set to have their fourth 24-hour stoppage this Friday - though Ryanair stresses it has only hit a tiny minority of its overall operation.

Last week's two-day cabin crew strike in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium triggered 600 cancellations, disrupting a further 100,000 customers. 

Last week, Ryanair confirmed part of its 20% profit fall was due to the pilots' campaign of industrial action. 

It has issued protective notice to 100 Irish-based pilots and 200 cabin crew - but rejected union claims that this was aimed at intimidating staff. 

Ryanair has invited the Irish pilots' union Fórsa to talks in a bid to resolve the dispute over conditions of employment.

In a tweet, Ryanair said that the 20 flights already cancelled for this Friday's strike could not be restored and that "the damage to Ryanair's Irish business has already been done".

The airline urged the union to explain to the public why more Irish customers were being disrupted when management had already agreed nine of the 11 demands set out by pilots.

It stated: "Given how much Ryanair had already agreed to, it is irresponsible of Fórsa to call repeated strikes of Irish pilots and to refuse to meet Ryanair (as they did last Tuesday) which has damaged Ryanair's Irish business and led to 300 pilots and cabin crew receiving protective notice."

Chief operations officer Peter Bellew said management were prepared to meet Fórsa this Saturday, or on any day the following week "...as long as no more strikes are called while we meet, and no Aer Lingus pilots are involved in these negotiations".

Fórsa has previously stated that it rejected a previous invitation as it was a "briefing" on job cuts rather than negotiations.

Shares in Ryanair closed 2.2% lower in Dublin trade this evening.