Employees Had Refused To Relocate To Other Bases
Low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair has filed paperwork to fire all of its Netherlands-based pilots and cabin crew because they refused to be "voluntarily" relocated to bases such as Morocco and Belarus.
The U.K. newspaper The Mail reports that Ryanair filed paperwork with the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) for the collective firing. The UWV is an independent government agency that handles unemployment benefits.
Ryanair closed its Dutch base at Eindhoven on November 5th, citing bad economic results. That closing was used as the justification for the mass firing. But the VNV and FNV unions, which represent the pilots and flight attendants respectively, said the airline's action will be appealed to the UWV. VNV chairman Joost van Doesburg said he was surprised that the UWV accepted the application for the mass firing. He said the airline would have to show proof of the bad economic data, which to his knowledge has not been done.
The unions allege that Ryanair closed the Netherlands base as a retaliatory move after pilots went on a two-day strike in October. Sixteen pilots began legal action against the airline, asking a judge to prevent Ryanair from transferring them from the Netherlands to cities in Africa and Eastern Europe. A spokesman for the VNV union said that the strike was about basic rights for employees under Dutch standards.
The court eventually ruled in favor of the pilots, saying Ryanair could not force them to move, and the airline had to continue to pay their salaries. But the carrier then sent a letter to the pilots giving them four days to decide whether to accept a voluntary relocation or be terminated.
The decision affects the 16 pilots and 98 cabin crew personnel that are based in Eindhoven. Ryanair says that they have been offered jobs elsewhere in the network, which they are under no obligation to accept. But Ryanair spokesman Yann Delomez said that "there will be no jobs remaining at Eindhoven."