Pros­e­cu­tors in Koblenz in dogged pur­suit of evaders

Irish Independent - - News - John Mul­li­gan

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.

Back­lash

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.

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