Europe: Ministers from five European govts urge Ryanair to apply natl. labour laws to its workers

Ryanair is facing strikes by its pilots across Europe as exploratory talks between unions and the Ireland-based budget airline are reported to have broken down. In December 2017, Ryanair had annouced that it would recognise unions for the first time in the airline's history. Grievances range from pay and rosters to labour conditions including a lack of social security and employment protection.

In October 2018, it was announced that agreements on working conditions had been reached with pilot unions in several European countries. In November 2018, employment ministers from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands urged the firm to resolve ongoing disputes with local employees, warning that it could otherwise face legal trouble.

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27 November 2018

Spain’s Labour Ministry fines Ryanair for breaching employment law

Author: EuroWeekly

RYANAIR has been found guilty in Spain of violating the right to strike of cabin crews, and of breaching work safety regulations.

Unions have revealed that the Labour Ministry has threatened to fine the budget airline on this basis, and for obstructing inspections.

The company has been found to have been emailing or calling employees to check whether they were planning to stop work before the planned strikes on July 25 and 26, and on September 28.

The Labour Ministry has confirmed that it has “given the company notice of infractions,” but refused to give further details...

For its part, Ryanair has said “We respect the labour rights of our employees in accordance with Irish, Spanish and EU legislation.”

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15 November 2018

US shareholders to sue Ryanair for making “false & misleading statements” over relations with workers

Author: Barry O'Halloran, The Irish Times

"Ryanair and O’Leary being sued by US pension fund", 7 Nov 2018

US shareholders are suing Ryanair and chief executive Michael O’Leary for making “false and misleading statements” about the airline’s industrial relations woes.

Ryanair endured strikes by pilots and cabin crew during the summer as newly recognised trade unions sought changes in workers’ conditions...

The pension fund, based in Birmingham, Alabama, claims that between May 30th, 2017, and September 28th, 2018, Ryanair and Mr O’Leary made “false and misleading statements” about relations with workers and unions that artificially inflated the carrier’s share price...

Ryanair vowed to vigorously “defend and defeat these bogus ambulance chaser claims”, which it said had no basis in reality.

“Contrary to these invented claims, Ryanair has experienced very little industrial action this year from its staff,” the airline argued.

Ryanair said that over eight days of strikes, it operated more than 90 per cent of its schedule with minimal disruptions.

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5 November 2018

Ministers from 5 European countries call on Ryanair to apply local labour law to its workers

Author: Business Recorder

"Ryanair warned to respect national labour laws in Europe", 3 Nov 2018

Ministers from five European governments warned the Irish low cost airline Ryanair on Friday that it could face legal trouble if it ignores national labour laws. Employment ministers from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands urged the firm to resolve ongoing disputes with local employees within weeks... The officials urged Ryanair to agree a timetable with unions to transition existing contracts with pilots and cabin crew to their local labour laws. “We sincerely hope this materialises in the next few weeks,” they said. “For Ryanair there is now a window of opportunity for concluding an agreement with the trade unions which could become the basis for sustainable social peace.” In a statement, the firm insisted that it already follows EU-wide rules and was discussing how to address local disputes over national rules. “Ryanair continues to negotiate with our people and their unions across Europe and we have already confirmed that we are offering local contracts and local laws,” the firm said.

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29 October 2018

Ryanair investors call for chairman to stand down; "governance has not kept pace” with changes needed in its operating & employment model

Author: The Guardian

"Ryanair investors call for chairman to stand down in 2019", 28 October 2018

Ryanair will come under increased pressure this week to bring in fresh leadership, as investors call for its chairman, David Bonderman, to stand down...

[T]he Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has told the Irish airline to start planning for a successor to Michael O’Leary...

The LAPFF chair, Ian Greenwood, has written to Michael Cawley, the chair of Ryanair’s nomination committee...

Ryanair issued a statement saying: “Ryanair shareholders recently passed all AGM resolutions by a large majority, including the nomination of directors and chairman. They appreciate how fortunate we are to have an outstanding chairman like David Bonderman [to] guide the board and the airline.” ...

Ryanair last week officially recognised unions in Belgium, Spain, Portugal and the UK in a bid to improve relations with workers.

“Ryanair faces a prolonged transition to a more stable employment model and improved industrial relations,” Greenwood wrote in his letter to Ryanair. He said the firm’s “governance has not kept pace” with changes needed in its operating model.

“We consider that more genuinely independent representation on the board could have ensured that these changes were achieved more smoothly,” he wrote... [also refers to Royal London Asset Management, Aberdeen Standard]

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25 October 2018

Ryanair reaches agreements on working conditions with pilot unions

Author: Wings Herald

"Ryanair reached several agreements on working conditions with pilot unions", 21 October 2018

The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair announced it has reached several agreements on working conditions with pilot unions in several European countries at a time when cabin crew members are threatening to strike again. Agreements are step ahead for Ryanair, but they are far from addressing the social demands of pilots in some countries and, above all, the cabin crew who led the recent strikes at the low-cost company...

Signing a collective agreement should allow pilots hired by Ryanair to have contracts that comply with the legislation of the country of residence of the pilot rather than Ireland’s legislation. Trade unions have been insisting on this for months...

The union threatened to organize more strike days before the end of the year if the airline did not radically change its position and attitude.

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30 August 2018

Ryanair accepts Fórsa as sole trade union for Irish cabin crew

Author: The Irish Times

Fórsa will be the only trade union to represent Ryanair’s 200 or so directly-employed Irish-based cabin crew following a deal struck between the pair.

The union confirmed on Thursday that it has signed an agreement with Ryanair giving it sole negotiation rights for directly-employed Irish-based cabin crew...

Ryanair said that it looked forward to working with Fórsa and its elected company council – made up of the staff themselves – to conclude a collective labour agreement for its directly-employed, Irish-based crew.

Eddie Wilson, the airline’s chief people officer, pointed out that the company was pleased to sign the deal.

“This is a further sign of the progress Ryanair is making with trade unions since our December 2017 decision to recognise unions, with over 65 per cent of our cabin crew now covered by recognition agreements,” he added.

Ryanair recently signed similar deals for cabin crew in other jurisdictions, including one with trade union Unite covering Northern Ireland and Britain, as well as labour organisations in Italy and Germany.

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30 August 2018

Ryanair Italian pilot union approves collective labour agreement

Author: The Irish Times

Italian pilots union Anpac said on Tuesday that a majority of its pilots had approved a collective labour agreement with Ryanair in the airline’s latest breakthrough in efforts to quell staff protests around Europe...

“We welcome this first [agreement] with our Italian pilots and hope that it will be shortly followed by a similar agreement covering our Irish pilots,” Ryanair chief people officer Eddie Wilson said in a statement. “We have invited our UK, German and Spanish unions to meet with us in the coming days so that we can negotiate and hopefully agree similar pilot [collective labour agreements] in these other larger markets,” he said...

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10 August 2018

Ryanair laments ‘unnecessary’ strike, as pilots aim to ‘strengthen our rights’

Author: Claire Stam,

Ryanair pilots in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden are staging a 24-hour strike on Friday (August 10) in one of the most severe examples of strike action in the company’s history. The low-cost carrier has branded the action “unjustified” and “unnecessary”.

Among their demands, which include sick leave and pension schemes, the European unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation...

Ryanair only recognised trade unions for the first time in December 2017 and has been beset by industrial action...

Speaking at a press conference in Frankfurt the same day VC held its own, Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said the German union should “remove the threat of an unjustified and unnecessary strike”.

He said that German pilots enjoy excellent working conditions and are paid up to €190,000 annually...

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10 August 2018

Unions allege Ryanair is breaching labour laws by trying to deter workers from striking; co denies allegations

Author: Sean Farrell and Rob Davies, The Guardian

Ryanair is facing legal claims from unions for allegedly violating labour laws during a row with striking workers... [A]fter making deals with unions [...], the airline has failed to engage with workers, unions claim. Pilots and cabin crew have responded with a string of strikes seeking better terms and conditions... While most EU countries allow companies to dock pay from striking staff, union sources said Ryanair threatened to strip crew of productivity bonuses and warned that their promotion chances would be affected, which would be in breach of labour laws... A Ryanair spokesperson said: “As with any company dealing with industrial relations disputes and strike action, employee attendance is recorded so that pay can be adjusted accordingly. Participation in a strike does not affect promotion or transfer decisions and this was also confirmed to our crew.”

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9 August 2018

Court refuses to ban Dutch Ryanair pilots strike, airline says all flights will go ahead


Pilots in the Netherlands who work for budget airline Ryanair have been given the green light to strike on Friday by a court in Haarlem. Ryanair went to court in an effort to have Friday’s strike ruled illegal, saying it would have a major impact if it went ahead. The court ruled that this was not the case, but did say the next time pilots strike, passengers should be told further ahead of time. Dutch Ryanair pilots only made the announcement they had decided to strike on Wednesday at 6pm. In a reaction, Ryanair said that no flights to and from the Netherlands would be cancelled due to the strike because ‘Ryanair’s pilots have decided to work on Friday 10 August to prevent disruption to our customers travelling on their summer holidays.’ ... The Netherlands was the only country where Ryanair contested the strike...

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