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A French court imposed €10 million (£8.3 million) in fines and damages on Ryanair yesterday for labour law breaches. The breaches are linked to the treatment of local workers hired on foreign employment contracts. The airline has said that it will appeal to the European courts.
Ironically, the ruling came days after Ryanair unveiled plans to overhaul its ‘abrupt’ corporate image and ease their reputation for treating customers badly.
The dispute centres on the airline’s practice of hiring workers in Ireland and posting them to France, where the court said it failed to pay high social fees and other labour charges. The carrier was also found guilty of impeding the activities of trade union and works councils.
The French prosecutor said: “By refusing to submit to French law… Ryanair managed to dump its social costs, which in turn allowed it to reduce its operating expenses. Particularly those relating to staff.”
Ryanair was ordered to pay €200,000 in fines and more than €9 million in backdated social charges and pension contributions for using Irish registered workers at its Marseille transport hub between 2007 and 2010.
The Dublin-based airline argued that by posting Irish registered employees in France, it was complying with European Union rules on the employment of mobile workers. It said there was a contradiction between its current practice and French law.
The company said: “Ryanair believes this contradiction can ultimately only be resolved by the European Courts upholding EU regulations on the employment of mobile transport workers, and Ryanair intends to pursue this appeal all the way to the European Courts.”
The company also advised that they would reclaim any funds it was forced to pay to France from the Irish government.