Ryanair loses Supreme Court battle in Spain after cutting staff’s wages during the Covid pandemic

BUDGET airline Ryanair has been told by Spain’s Supreme Court that staff pay cuts and working condition changes imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020 were unlawful.

The judges threw out an appeal by the Irish carrier against a 2021 National Court ruling which struck down changes in Spanish contracts made in response to global travel restrictions.

It said there was no consultation period for the changes and cited ‘the company’s failure to negotiate in good faith and to provide sufficient and necessary documentation’.

Changes to working conditions led to 10% pay cuts for cabin crew staff and 20% for pilots.

Rest days were cut from three to two days for every five days of work, and a monthly productivity bonus valued at €150 was scrapped.

The lawsuit was brought by the Sitcpla union representing cabin workers and the USO union.

893 cabin crew and 608 pilots were affected and Ryanair will now have to restore its previous working contracts.

A USO union statement said: “We hope that after almost three years since the legal procedure began, and following this decision of the Supreme Court, the change in the work patterns will be carried out immediately”.

It added that it regrets the ‘strategy adopted by some companies such as Ryanair, focused on violating the legal system and maximising operational capacity in the hope that judicial decisions will end up being produced years after the events happen’.

The USO said it gave the company a ‘short-term competitive advantage, which becomes more evident in periods of crisis’ like the Covid pandemic.

In a separate matter, the Galicia High Court backed up a Labour court ruling on Monday that a Santiago de Compostela flight attendant was unfairly sacked by Ryanair in 2022 for going on strike.

Both courts said the female worker had her ‘constitutional rights’ breached and awarded her €7,501 in compensation as well as ordering her to be reinstated.

Ryanair argued in its dismissal letter that the employee had failed to meet the minimum services of the USO-called strike for five days – on 25, 26 and 27 July, and 9 and 10 August.

The company can appeal against the ruling and has made no comment, so far, on its two legal setbacks.


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