The Irish airline Ryanair has just suffered a new setback in the legal battle which has pitted it for a decade against social organizations and French unions. The Paris Court of Appeal confirmed the guilt of the low-cost carrier in a case of concealed work. The deliberation was delivered on May 13, but the protagonists only received a copy of the judgment a week later. The reasons for the decision are severe, the magistrates considering that the company has “voluntarily withdrawing from social legislation” tricolor through a ” fraud “ characterized.
The procedure against Ryanair began at the end of 2009, following a report from the Central Office for the Fight against Illegal Labor and complaints from several employee organizations and the Caisse de flight crew pensions (CRPN). The facts concern the base of the company at Marseille-Marignane airport, which it had opened without registering in the commercial register or declaring the approximately 130 employees to Urssaf – these covered by Irish Social Security. . Management had also refrained from creating representative bodies for its employees (works council, staff representatives, etc.).
These are all practices that Ryanair has justified by arguing that its teams established in Marignane exercised their activity in aircraft registered in Ireland and by arguing that its head office was in the same country: therefore, the employees concerned could, according to her, to have Irish law applied.
At the end of the investigation, the company was sent back to the criminal court of Aix-en-Provence and sentenced, in October 2013, to some 8.67 million euros in damages. Just over 80% of this amount was allocated to Urssaf and CRPN, in order to compensate for the damage linked to the fact that the carrier had paid its contributions not in France, but in Ireland, where the level of levies is lower. For magistrates, Ryanair “organized real social dumping” and “created a situation of unfair competition vis-à-vis other airlines respecting national legislation”.
Knowingly circumventing regulations
On appeal, the sentence was upheld. But the Court of Cassation partially invalidated, in 2018, the sanction imposed on Ryanair and asked that the case be retried taking into account decisions rendered a few months earlier by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). This is how the case landed before the Paris Court of Appeal.
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