Published on : Saturday, September 22, 2018
In a statement issued today, the unions representing staff in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands said meetings in recent days between union and airline representatives, some under “government mediation”, had ended without agreement on when to apply national law to employment contracts.
The five unions are objecting to Ryanair’s insistence that all workers across the airline’s network – no matter where they are based – must have their employment contracts governed by Irish law.
They are demanding what they call a coherent and unequivocal answer to the issues involved before 28 September, when the next strike is due – and will not back down until national law is respected to its full extent.
Belgian personnel have already rejected a company proposal for migrating to local contracts as it would not happen till May 2020.
At yesterday’s AGM, Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary confirmed that the airline is currently lobbying the Irish Government to change tax legislation so that staff outside Ireland can pay tax and social security in the countries where they are based – a key demand of workers.
He said most of Ryanair’s people were on Irish contracts because Irish tax laws state that people employed as crew on an Irish-registered aircraft managed and owned with the State must pay their taxes within Ireland.
He also said that while some disruption had resulted from the recent pilot and cabin crew strikes – with more possible next Friday – it was far less than had been reported, and that most staff came to work as normal during industrial action.
The union statement said yesterday’s vote to re-elect the airline’s chairman David Bonderman by a significantly reduced majority reflected growing unrest among investors, claiming that one of the most important points of criticism was the way Ryanair handles its employees.
The unions cited statements earlier this week from EU Employment Commissioners Marianne Thyssen and Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc that Ryanair must submit to the labour laws of the countries where its workers live.
The Commissioners noted that Ryanair had written to them saying they intend to start signing local contracts in each country where it has bases.
A previous two-day cabin crew strike in July saw 600 flight cancellations and 100,000 customers disrupted – though Ryanair has repeated stated that this represented a relatively small proportion of the 2,200 flights it operates daily.