Ryanair conflict escalates

During the weekend, Ryanair pilots working from its Eindhoven base, received an ultimatum sent by the Irish company. The conflict between Ryanair and pilots escalated even more today.

Dutch paper de Volkskrant reported during the weekend, Ryanair pilots’ Dutch union was considering its options. Eindhoven News reported several times, about the on-going and now escalating conflict between Ryanair and its Eindhoven employees.

September 28, 2018, cabin crew and Ryanair pilots at Eindhoven Airport went on strike, demanding better working conditions and an increase in salaries. They were not the only Ryanair employees going on strikes. Over the past months, Ryanair employees elsewhere also went on strike.

Last week, the airline gave its Eindhoven pilots two options. Either the pilots cooperated with a “voluntary” transfer abroad; or the company would start dismissal procedures.

Thursday, a Dutch judge ruled that the closure of the Eindhoven Ryanair base and enforced transfer of the company’s pilots to foreign countries was unlawful. After all: there are no economic grounds.

Last week, various international media also reported, European Transport Ministers had warned Ryanair as well. Ministers from at least five European governments warned the Irish budget airline, it could face legal trouble if it ignored national labour laws.

Ryanair was not impressed by the Dutch court ruling, nor by the Transport Ministers’ warning. It responded it would go ahead with the closure of its Eindhoven base.

Eindhoven Ryanair pilots

This is exactly what happened today. Ryanair closed its base at Eindhoven Airport this very Monday; despite the court ruling and warning from European Ministers.

The news about the closure of Ryanair’s Eindhoven base was made public by Dutch union VNV. Ryanair itself was unavailable for comment.

All this means, four Ryanair airplanes are grounded at Eindhoven Airport. They will be moved to foreign airports with help from non-Eindhoven Ryanair employees, it seems.

According to the union’s spokesperson, the Eindhoven Ryanair pilots have already received their new November schedules per mail. The pilots include the sixteen members of the Dutch union which started the court case.

The Dutch judge obliged Ryanair to pay the salaries of the sixteen pilots, even if they do not fly. If the company does not comply with the court ruling, it faces an extra fine of 250,000 euros per violation.

What exactly is going to happen today remains unclear.

According to union VNV, Ryanair pilots stationed in Eindhoven stay at home. ‘They do not have to do anything now, because they do not have to carry out the flights which first departed from Eindhoven. The pilots are being paid; which is also what the judge stipulated”, says Joost van Doesburg of VNV.

The vast majority of Ryanair flights to and from Eindhoven are not affected. Van Doesburg: “Fifteen percent of the flights may be affected, now the base is closed. The remaining 85 percent are covered by foreign pilots. Take for example the regular service with Malaga. These flights now depart from Malaga to Eindhoven and back; instead of the other way around. And with Spanish instead of Dutch pilots”.

Ryanair had 49 pilots stationed at Eindhoven Airport. According to the VNV, some have already found new jobs. Sixteen pilots have a permanent contract.

For these, a forced transfer abroad due to the closure of the Ryanair base, has major consequences. This is the reason why these sixteen pilots went to court.

Source: Studio 040
Conflict escalates
Ryanair closes base

Translator: Kate

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