Wednesday 18 September 2019

Union to launch Ryanair court bid over pilot deal in Spain

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Spain's pilot union Sepla has said it was "naive" to believe that Ryanair management "really wanted to change" what it says are "toxic labour relations".

In a letter to pilots, the union's Ryanair company council said that it's following through with a threat made last month to initiate legal action against the airline in relation to its employment practices.

Ryanair said the threat was a "false" claim. Sepla said in its letter to pilots that it intends to initiate two legal actions at Spain's high court.

It said that one will focus on Ryanair pilot contracts, which Sepla claimed do not comply with Spanish law "in most cases". The second will push for the regularisation of contractors.

"No one can doubt that we are the victims of this type of allegedly fraudulent and illegal type contract," Sepla claimed. "The time has now come for Ryanair to regularise and equate us to the rest of the Spanish workforce."

But Ryanair, which said in December that it will recognise trade unions across Europe, dismissed the allegations by Sepla.

"In relation to false claims that Sepla will challenge the Irish employment status of pilots in Spain, the Valencia Court of Appeal upheld the 2017 ruling of the Valencia Labour Court, that the Spanish courts had no jurisdiction over Ryanair pilots and cabin crew employment. Ryanair fully complies with all EU and Spanish employment law," said a spokeswoman.

She added: "If Sepla wishes to finalise a pay increase of up to 20pc, and union recognition, then perhaps they would reply to Ryanair letters of 17 and 24 January instead of leaking false information to the media."

Sepla insists Ryanair was only buying time by saying it would recognise unions when it faced the prospect of industrial action. "It has become clear Ryanair has no intention of negotiating with the pilots' representatives until they are forced to do so," said the Sepla Ryanair pilot council.

"We have been naive believing management really wanted to change the course of such toxic labour relations. It has been shown they were only looking to gain time, which they have unfortunately achieved."

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