Ryanair faces legal action from pilots
Ryanair is facing legal action from more than 30 pilots who have filed proceedings against the airline in the High Court.
The Irish carrier is in talks with pilot trade unions across Europe following its pledge late last year to recognise organised labour.
Separately, 37 individuals have filed cases against the airline in the High Court. As the plaintiffs have only taken the first step in bringing proceedings against the company, there is little detail available. However, it is understood the people involved are Ryanair pilots who are taking action against the airline relating to their employment.
Ryanair said last it did not comment on pending legal actions. Trade unions representing pilots pointed out that the cases are being taken by the individuals themselves, rather than any labour groups.
The airline employs pilots directly and on contract. Its hiring practices have drawn frequent criticism from unions and other groups, but Ryanair insists it complies fully with all laws and regulations.
The airline hires pilots and cabin crews under Irish law on the basis they are working on aircraft registered in the Republic. However, analysts argued last year a European Court of Justice ruling allowing workers to take cases to courts most aligned with their interests undermined this approach.
Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary responded that the ECJ verdict would not change the Irish contracts or the structure of the Irish contracts and added that it did not threaten to increase the airline’s costs.
The High Court hears cases with a minimum value of more than €75,000, except for personal injuries, where the threshold is more than €60,000.
Last December, the airline agreed to recognise trade unions after pilots in the Republic, Germany and Italy threatened to strike in the run-up to Christmas. The move followed a controversy over flight cancellations in the autumn caused by a mix-up in pilots’ holiday rosters.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association and Anpac, the Italian equivalent, have since agreed basic recognition deals with the airline. The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association – part of trade union Fórsa – has yet to agree a deal, although it was one of the first to meet Ryanair after the company said it would recognise unions.