Thursday 21 September 2017

Ryanair pulls Copenhagen base in dispute with Danish unions over 'Irish working conditions'

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's Chief executive, speaks during a press conference in Bratislava this February. Photo: SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images
Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's Chief executive, speaks during a press conference in Bratislava this February. Photo: SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images

Paul O'Donoghue

Ryanair has pulled its base from Copenhagen after a decision by the Danish Labour Court that ruled that Copenhagen airport staff had the right to refuse to service its flights in a dispute over workers' rights.

The Irish budget airline's policy of employing people in countries such as Denmark under the less generous terms of Ireland, rather than local rules, has incurred the anger of Danish labour unions.

The unions have demanded that the carrier sign a Danish collective agreement with its locally-based pilots and cabin crew. They went to court to find out if workers at Copenhagen airport - such as baggage handlers and fuel suppliers - could legally refuse to service Ryanair flights if the carrier did not meet that demand.

The court ruled on Wednesday that the unions had the right to demand a collective agreement for Ryanair staff and also to stage a strike against the airline.

Ryanair is now to move its single Copenhagen-based aircraft to Kaunas, Lithuania from 14 July after the Labour Court ruling, which the airline claims is "bizarre".

CEO Michael O’Leary said: “Ryanair will now switch its one based aircraft from Copenhagen to Kaunas as a result of this week’s bizarre Labour Court ruling. Sadly, Copenhagen will lose out on these high paid Ryanair jobs as we move our pilots and cabin crew to other Ryanair airports elsewhere in Europe.”

The Dublin-based carrier also announced three new routes to Copenhagen with a daily Kaunas service. Ryanair will now operate its 14 Copenhagen routes on aircraft based outside of Copenhagen.

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