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Ryanair threatens those who look too closely at its work conditions

The company is not at ease with social legislation


The legal department of Ryanair threatened to sue several people who are looking too closely at the work conditions of its employees. An attitude that proves that the company is not very clear with the right to social protection.



Michael O’Leary does not like that the working conditions of his pilots are scrutinized. DR
Michael O’Leary does not like that the working conditions of his pilots are scrutinized. DR
Ryanair does not like others sticking their nose in its business.

According to the Irish Times, the Irish company would have sent threatening letters to several people that participated last May in an audience of the Commission on Social Affairs of the European Parlement.

Academics, union leaders, and lobbyists who are looking too closely at the company’s social model.

The manager of its legal service, Juliusz Komorek, specifically targeted two academics: the professor Peter Turnbull from Cardiff University (Wales) and the professor Yves Jorens from Gand University (Belgium).

The two professors instigated studies on low-cost companies and atypical work conditions.

A survey based on anonymous testimonies criticized by Ryanair

The investigation of the Gand University is the most recent.

Published in February 2015, it concludes, in a highly detailed investigation of 280 pages, that, in Europe, more than one pilot out of six could be coined as an “atypical” worker.

Meaning operating on the account of a temporary work agency, or as an independent, an auto-entrepreneur according to French law. A form of disguised employment that would particularly affect young pilots.

The study is based on 6,000 anonymous testimonies. A characteristic that Ryanair uses to question the unfounded aspect of this study, considered “inexact because it is based on an anonymous online survey.”

Yet, it is an open secret that Ryanair is not really famous for respecting the employment conditions of the countries in which it operates.

Let’s remembers its recent conviction in Marseille for undeclared work.

We also know that it hires a large amount of its pilots under the status of auto-entrepreneur.

According to the Ryanair Pilot Group (RPG) union, not recognized by the management, 70% of the 3,000 pilots would be employed with this status, that enables to avoid paying social security costs.

Ryanair is not the only criticized company

Yet for now, only the “clusters of serious presumptions” have been raised by the European Committee on social dialogue.

In 2014, this committee compared the name of the people having declared owning a micro-company in the Irish business directory, with their professional status on the social network LinkedIn. 220 pilots operating with the auto-entrepreneur status would have been identified.

The President of this committee, Emmanuel Jahan, who attended the meeting last May, has received this same type of threats as the two professors previously mentioned.

And it is not the first time. No less than eight letters denouncing him for defamation have been sent to him by Ryanair. A true psychological pressure to keep him from doing his job.

This very aggressive attitude of the Irish company is even more surprising since it isn’t the only company cited in the Gand University study.

Wizzair is also featured and it would be the second company to hire the most independent employees.

A graphic of the Gand University study that shows the rate of independent workers amongst the received testimonies.
A graphic of the Gand University study that shows the rate of independent workers amongst the received testimonies.

The report also looks at the employment of temporary workers, and this time it is the company Norwegian that leads, followed by Niki and WizzAir.
Ryanair threatens those who look too closely at its work conditions

Despite all of these devastating elements, the European Parlement is putting off launching an extensive investigation on what seems to be a violation of the right to social protection from several low-cost companies.

Written by Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher the 07/07/2015
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Tags : Ryanair

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