MAGISTRATES have charged Ryanair with illegally employing staff at Marseille Airport, despite the low-cost airline’s threat to pull out if the case went ahead.
The French pilots’ union SNPL had filed a complaint with the court in Aix en Provence that Ryanair was ignoring employment laws and the Office central de lutte contre le travail illégal has ruled there is a case to answer.
Ryanair, which flies 1.4 million passengers in and out of Marseille a year, is accused of using illegal ground staff and aircrew by employing its 120 staff on Irish contracts, preventing access to unions and blocking the setting-up of works, hygiene and safety committees.
If convicted, it could face a fine of €225,000, and could also face paying retroactive social charges for its employees since its launch in the city in 2006, which would amount to the same total sum as their salaries.
In April, budget airline EasyJet was fined €1.4m for employing 170 staff at Paris Orly Airport under British contracts.
Ryanair said in May that it had told its staff that, if the inquiry went ahead, it would move its four planes to another airport outside France and lay off the 120 staff at Marseille. It would also cut the number of daily flights through Marseille from 33 to 16.
The company said today it had “not received any formal notification on any such court investigation. We have a policy of not commenting on rumours and speculation carried in the media.
“Our statement from May remains unchanged.”
Elsewhere, the airline has called on the European Commission to remove air traffic controllers’ right to strike because of the disruption caused by last Thursday’s French action, yesterday’s Belgian action and today’s strike in Spain.
It also wants Europe’s air traffic control network deregulated so non-striking controllers from other countries could keep planes flying over central Europe.
Photo: Scot w 9