Ryanair shuts down Dutch base despite court ruling
Irish budget airline Ryanair announced Tuesday it had shut down its Eindhoven base for winter, despite a Dutch court decision stopping it from forcing pilots there to transfer abroad.
"The Ryanair base at Eindhoven closed yesterday (Monday), as planned," said a statement from the company.
"All pilots and cabin crew have already been offered base transfers, which protects their seniority and earnings, but if any crew members wish to choose redundancies over base transfers then we will respect that choice," it added.
On Thursday, a Dutch court ruling forbade Ryanair from imposing the transfer of Dutch pilots elsewhere in Europe.
The airline had "abused its power" in deciding to close its Eindhoven base, said the court.
Sixteen pilots brought the case to the Dutch court after Ryanair announced in October it was closing its base at Eindhoven, where four of its planes are based.
Joost van Doesburg, spokesman for the Dutch pilots union VNV, told AFP, the pilots were currently at home and would stay home refusing any transfer.
The Dutch court ordered Ryanair to continue paying the Dutch pilots who are refusing the imposed transfer, threatening a 250,000-euro ($286,000) fine per pilot should they fail to do so.
In recent months, the airline has had to contend with a wave of industrial action in several European countries as its pilots and cabin staff press for better working conditions.
It announced it was cutting back this winter by closing three European bases: Eindhoven and two others in Germany. It said it planned to transfer staff to other bases to limit job losses.
The largest trades union in the Netherlands, the FNV, said Tuesday it was launching an action against the company in the name of Ryanair cabin staff, demanding that the company respect Dutch labour laws.
On Friday, employment ministers from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands urged the company to respect labour laws across Europe.
The European Commission has already warned Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary that he must apply local regulations in each country in which he has employees.
© 2018 AFP