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Ryanair pilots strike in Germany and elsewhere in Europe

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The biggest strike in Ryanair’s 33-year history began at 3 a.m. (0100 UTC) in Germany as pilots took action in support of their claims for better pay and conditions.

The trade union Cockpit said 480 Germany-based pilots were not expected to return to work until 2.59 a.m. Saturday.

“Ryanair alone is responsible for the escalation we are now seeing,” Cockpit president Martin Locher said, adding that the carrier had ruled out higher personnel costs which left no room for compromise.

Read more:Opinion: Our addiction to cheap flights is leaving us penniless 

Ryanair pilots held a strike in Dublin in July

Cross-border action

Germany will be the country most affected by the strike with 250 flight cancellations across ten airports. Pilots in the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Ireland also joined in the action.

Hundreds of European flights have been cancelled, affecting about 55,000 passengers, 42,000 of them in Germany. Refunds or rerouted journeys have been offered to the people concerned. Ryanair claimed more than 2,000 flights would operate as normal on Friday.

DW reporter Lars Halter at Berlin-Schönefeld airport said the situation was “very calm.” As Ryanair had already informed passengers of the disruption there was “no one looking desperately for flights.”

Ryanair expects profits of around €1.25 billion ($1.44 billion) this year

Ryanair expects profits of around €1.25 billion ($1.44 billion) this year

Claims for pay and better conditions

Ryanair pilots say they earn less than their colleagues in other airlines such as Lufthansa.

Other concerns are the status of contractors whose working conditions are not as good as those enjoyed by permanently employed staff and employee contracts based on Irish legislation. This can mean staff based in other European states are unable to gain access to state benefits.

Ryanair’s management claims to have offered a pay increase and to be open to further talks. But it has also threatened to move part of its fleet to Poland, which could mean a loss of jobs.

The European Trade Union Confederation welcomed the cross-border action by the pilots, saying it made it harder for management to ignore the pilots’ demands.

jm/rt (Reuters, AFP)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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Musk Defends Relentless Work Hours as Tesla Enters Fateful Week

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Several anti-pipeline protesters released from BC jail days before week-long sentences end

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Several pipeline protesters were released from a British Columbia jail on Sunday, a few days before their week-long sentences were set to end.

Seven protesters in all were sentenced to a week-long jail term on Aug. 15, after pleading guilty to contempt charges in B.C. Supreme Court.

Five who were released on Sunday issued a joint statement, saying they were imprisoned because of their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

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In the statement, the five women – who include anti-poverty activist and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson – said they are not criminals, but “political prisoners.”

Swanson said in a phone interview that her four days spent at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge, B.C., had not deterred her in what she said is a fight against climate change.

“I don’t know how anyone can look at the sky in Vancouver today and say global warming is not an issue,” said Swanson, in reference to the smoke and particulate matter from wildfires hazing the skies in southwestern B.C.

“We need to do something, we need to stop the insanity.”

From her perspective as an anti-poverty advocate, Swanson said the Trans Mountain pipeline ties the issues of homelessness, poverty and climate change together.

“For all those billions and billions of dollars, governments could actually create jobs building renewable energy…. Governments could end homelessness, they could put clean and safe water on Indigenous reserves.”

In May, the federal government announced its intent to acquire Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan Canada.

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According to recent documents filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, the sale could cost as much as $1.9-billion more than the initial quote of $4.5-billion.

The documents also suggest the project could take another 12 months to finish.

More than 200 activists have been arrested for demonstrations against the Trans Mountain project since March.

Those released on Sunday also included former B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Susan Lambert.

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Online pot sales will leave a lot of information at risk, say experts

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TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational pot online after legalization this fall should be able to rely on existing laws to protect their privacy but the issue needs to be watched closely to ensure regulations are obeyed and mistakes are avoided, experts say.

The matter is important given the stigma many people still attach to marijuana use, and the potential for Canadians to be barred from the United States if their otherwise legal indulgence becomes known to American border agents.

“We need to keep eyes on it, meaning we have to make sure this information is not abused or used for secondary purposes that were never intended,” Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s former privacy commissioner and now an expert at Ryerson University, said in an interview. “Theoretically, it should not be used for any other purpose.”

A spokesperson for federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said the office had not looked specifically at online marijuana sales. At the same time, the commission said it recognized privacy concerns around buying or using marijuana given its longtime status as a controlled substance.

“The legal sale and use of both medicinal and recreational marijuana raises privacy issues, particularly since laws and regulations differ from country to country and even within countries,” Tobi Cohen said. “We have repeatedly raised concerns about the effectiveness of (Canada’s two privacy laws) in the digital age and have called for both laws to be strengthened.”

Last week, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government announced that consumers 19 years or older will have to go online to buy weed after legalization federally on Oct. 17 because private retail stores won’t be up and running until April. A government agency called the Ontario Cannabis Store will run the online sales, although private e-commerce provider Shopify will be involved.

Online buyers will, at minimum, have to provide a name along with email and delivery address, and payment information. In Ontario, as is currently the case with online alcohol sales, buyers will be able to order as a “guest” without creating an online account.

However, Scott Blodgett, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, said buyers will have to provide proof of age via government-issued ID, which a delivery person will verify but not copy. The cannabis store website will have data security and privacy controls “aligned with global e-commerce best practice,” he said.

Personal data will remain in Canada and not be shared with third parties, Blodgett said.

Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish was unavailable to discuss the issue but his office said in a statement that public institutions are accountable for the information they collect.

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