RYANAIR caused "great hardship" to one of its pilots after reassigning him to the "Siberia" of a base in Lithuania, despite telling him his services were not needed there, a tribunal heard.
Captain Morgan Fischer (44) had been a Ryanair pilot for almost five years and was living in the town of Aix-en-Provence, in Marseille, France, with his wife and child when in October 2010 the airline closed its Marseille base.
Some 30 pilots were required to apply for work in alternative bases and offered employment in locations including Spain, Italy and Portugal.
On the second day of an Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin, Capt Fischer said that he was "shocked" to learn that he was being offered a post in "Siberia" – Kaunas, Lithuania's second-largest city – on less pay, insisting he did not know the base in Marseille was about to close.
He was offered a salary of €60,000 in Kaunas, a reduction of just under €10,000 from what he had been earning in Marseille.
The tribunal was told it was standard practice for Ryanair pilots who change base to start on a new "commencement rate".
Under cross-examination, Capt Fischer said he would have moved to a different base if his salary had remained the same and if he was offered 'moving expenses' because it was "Ryanair who closed the base".
He said he felt he was treated "poorly" and the company was transferring him to "the other side of the world, where I do not speak the language and have no ties".
He said he received a letter from Ryanair telling him they did not require Line Training Captains in Kaunas but are "going to send you there anyway".
"The slots were full already but they were sending me there without any consultation," he said. "They were sending me to a base that they told me they don't need me at."
The constructive dismissal hearing was adjourned until a future date.