Ryanair Holdings Plc will offer direct employment to some German pilots currently working under contract, as a recruitment firm ends its services in the country for the discount carrier.

“Ryanair has now begun the process of offering these contractors direct employment” following U.K.-based McGinley Aviation’s decision to stop supplying it with pilots in Germany, the airline said in an email. McGinley said in a letter to the pilots obtained by Bloomberg that its work with them will end on Oct. 31, while Ryanair said the firm will continue serving the carrier in other countries.

The switch may help pave the way for a unionization deal between Dublin-based Ryanair and its German pilots after they staged the first strike in the airline’s history on Dec. 22. The four-hour stoppage was called after a breakdown in talks with the Vereinigung Cockpit union over the transition to collective bargaining.

Vereinigung Cockpit is aware of the McGinley letter, and the change to direct contracts is a welcome development, though tax implications need to be clarified, the union’s international relations officer James Phillips said by phone. McGinley Managing Director Elizabeth Cusack couldn’t be reached for comment.

Germany, where about half of Ryanair’s pilots are outside contractors, has remained a thorn in the carrier’s side as it has secured labor accords in markets including the U.K. and Ireland. Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary has been forced to drop a longstanding anti-union stance after staff gained bargaining power following a rostering mixup that led 20,000 flights to be scrapped.

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Photo Credit: Ryanair's Germany pilots will be employed directly by the company. Pictured are five of the airline's Boeing 737s. Ryanair