Public Prosecutor investigates Ryanair’s labour practices

  • Lusa
  • 27 August 2020

Portugal's Public Prosecutor's Office is investigating practices of coercion and replacement of strikers by Ryanair.

Portugal’s Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) is investigating practices of coercion and replacement of strikers by Ryanair and the temporary employment company Crewlink, denounced by ACT, an official source said on Thursday.

“The investigation, directed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the DIAP [Department of Investigation and Penal Action] in Lisbon, is underway and is subject to judicial secrecy,” a reply said sent to Lusa on the reports made by the Authority for Working Conditions (ACT) regarding situations of coercion and substitution of striking workers.

On Friday, the ACT said in replies sent to Lusa that it had carried out over 40 inspections of Ryanair and companies working with the airline in the last two years, detecting seven types of infringement.

The misdemeanour proceedings were opened on matters relating to the practice of coercion and replacement of striking workers, the illicit transfer of workers between Ryanair and Crewlink Ireland (a crew temporary employment company) since the latter was not licensed to do so or work done for Ryanair by temporary workers beyond the legally established limits.

ACT opened proceedings for infringements relating to failure to comply with the minimum holiday period legally provided and which is 22 working days a year, failure to pay holiday and Christmas bonuses, discounts on the amount of remuneration in breach of the law, failure to pay remuneration punctually and failure to contract working hours, and failure to take out work accident insurance.

“Criminal reports were also made to the Public Prosecution Service concerning situations of coercion and substitution of strikers, as well as others to the Social Security and Tax Authority, within the scope of their respective competencies”, can be read in the replies sent by ACT to Lusa.

The authority also pointed out that it monitors the labour situation in the various entities of the Ryanair group [which are not formally associated] by carrying out inspections, questioning employers and contacting workers and the National Civil Aviation Flight Personnel Union (SNPVAC) whenever justified or (…) requested, to ensure compliance with labour legislation.

Today, the newspaper Público reported that Ryanair has appealed against the European Commission’s authorisation of state aid to TAP, filing a case on 22 July last, information confirmed by the Irish airline.

This appeal seeks to overturn the decision of 10 June, when the EU executive gave the ‘green light’ for Portuguese emergency aid to TAP, state support of €1.2 billion to meet immediate liquidity needs because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with predetermined conditions for repayment.

According to the newspaper, in the case of TAP, Ryanair submitted five legal grounds to the general court for attempting to annul the state support, arguing from the outset that it was not properly defined that the rescue aid contributes to a well-defined objective of common interest, appropriate and proportionate, and without undue negative effects on competition.

Official information to which Lusa has had access reveals that, in addition to the TAP case, five other appeals have already been lodged with the EU Court of Justice, still at first instance, concerning Finnair, Scandinavian Airlines (in an attempt to challenge the compensatory guarantees given by Brussels in mid-April to Denmark and Sweden) and two other state aids, from France and Sweden respectively, concerning airport charges and loan guarantees to airlines.