Ryanair pilots in Ireland start first strike

DUBLIN, July 12 (Reuters) - Pilots in Ryanair's home country Ireland held a strike for the first time on Thursday as they demanded better conditions from Europe's largest low-cost carrier, which is trying to stave off a wave of industrial action across Europe.

Around 100 of Ryanair's 350 Irish pilots balloted to strike for 24 hours to demand a more transparent system of pay, promotions and transfers, aiming to limit what the FORSA/IALPA union says is excessive discretion management have over pilots' careers. A union representative said more strikes were possible.

Pilots and cabin crew at Ryanair began to organise after a wave of cancellations at the airline in the second half 2017. In December, the airline gave in to growing pressure and recognised trade unions for the first time in its 32-year history.

But management have struggled to reach agreement with unions on new terms and conditions and the airline has been hit by industrial action in Germany and Portugal.

Cabin crew in four countries have announced plans to strike in July and several other pilot unions are considering industrial action to demand improved conditions, including contracts under local rather than Irish law.

The airline, which says its pilots have some of the best conditions in the low-cost sector, said it planned to cancel 30 of 290 flights from Ireland on Thursday.

Around two dozen Ryanair pilots picketed close to Dublin airport. The airline offered to pay for taxis or public parking for pilots working on Thursday so they could avoid the picket. (Reporting by Conor Humphries Editing by Edmund Blair)