Prosecutors in Koblenz in dogged pursuit of evaders
THE German prosecutor’s office in Koblenz has doggedly pursued staff and recruitment companies that it suspects of having facilitated or engaged in tax evasion, or skimping on their social security obligations to German authorities.
Ryanair is not suspected of any wrongdoing by German authorities. And the outcome of those investigations won’t be made for some time, according to the office.
But confirmation that the prosecutor’s office is continuing its probe, into the role that four Ryanair employees in Ireland might have had in any suspected effort to incite tax evasion in Germany, arguably could not come at a worse time.
The airline has been battling an unmitigated PR disaster that exploded in September when it announced that it had cocked-up its pilot rostering, giving too much leave in the autumn and leaving itself short of cockpit crew. Ryanair grounded thousands of flights, but denied it had an issue with pilots leaving the carrier.
In fact Ryanair says that it has hired hundreds of pilots over the past number of months. But the impact of the rostering failure precipitated a backlash from pilots.
Many have railed against their working conditions, and demanded better pay.
Proposed pay increases, and the way they’re structured, have been rejected by pilots at some of Ryanair’s biggest bases, putting pressure on management to come up with a solution before any potential industrial action becomes a reality.
According to its last annual report, published this summer, Ryanair had slightly more than 13,000 workers at the end of last March. Of those, 4,058 are pilots and 7,684 are flight attendants.
But many of the pilots and cabin crew that the airline uses aren’t directly employed by the company, and instead hired via agencies.
Ryanair remains hugely profitable, as its financial results for the six months to the end of September published this morning demonstrate.
Its employment model is a key factor in helping it to keep costs under control.