Denmark’s largest pension fund, the government-mandated ATP, confirmed yesterday that it had sold its Ryanair shares, making it third Danish fund to dump shares in the airline as a dispute between Ryanair and a Danish trade union went to court.
“It was a business decision we deem to be in the best interest of our members and based on several factors,” ATP spokesman Anders Klinkby Madsen said yesterday. Other funds that have dropped Ryanair include PensionDanmark and Industriens Pension. ATP held the Ryanair shares indirectly through an external fund manager.
Confirmation of the share sale came on the same day that a Copenhagen court heard a case on whether Ryanair has to treat local staff according to Danish rules or the less generous standards of its Irish home market.
Ryanair’s efforts to improve public perceptions, central to its profit-boosting ambitions, have hit obstacles in the country, where unions, politicians and investors have raised objections to the working terms which underpin its discount prices.
The results have included flight disruptions, blows traded on Twitter and even become an election issue.
If trade unions win the case and Ryanair fails to sign a Danish collective agreement within five days, the union said it will disrupt its operations in scenes that could resemble the infamous baggage handlers’ dispute in Dublin Airport back in 1998. “Ryanair won’t be able to get fuel, luggage handling, food, cleaning, security and other things,” Peter Nisbeth, a lawyer for the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions, told Reuters.
Ryanair will not disclose its employment contracts in Denmark, which unions say breaks local law. The Danish Flight Personnel Union says a newly hired flight attendant working for Ryanair supplier Crewlink earns less than Danish unemployment benefits.
Ryanair says pilots and cabin crew enjoy high pay, job security and are covered by a collective agreement.