A Dutch court has ruled that the low-cost airline Ryanair was in its rights to close a cabin crew and pilot base in the city of Eindhoven after an independent report noted that the airport was the second poorest performing location within the entire Ryanair network. The judgement comes just six months after the same court ruled Ryanair’s claims were “unbelievable” and that the airline had given “inconsistent reasons” for closing the base.
Last November, Ryanair suddenly announced the closure of its Eindhoven base just days after the 16 pilots and 15 cabin crew stationed at the airport had walked out on strike in a dispute over pay and conditions. Ryanair offered the crew members the opportunity to move to an alternative base but only if they accepted the transfer with almost immediate effect – when they refused, Ryanair applied to the Dutch Labour Authority (UWV) to sack the crew members.
Unfortunately, for Ryanair, the UWV decided the Dublin-based airline wasn’t within its rights to dismiss its crew and forced the carrier to continue paying the affected staff until a judge at East Brabant court made a final ruling. Since then, the crew have been at home on full pay.
“…It was obvious that the staff thought they were being punished for the strike,” read the latest judgement, going onto say that Ryanair had “grossly damaged the confidence of its employees.”
Nonetheless, the court eventually sided with Ryanair but ordered the airline to pay the crew members compensation for the way in which the closure and subsequent dismissal process was handled. Yet, while the judge ordered compensation in the region of €150,000 for one of the sacked pilots, the six cabin attendants who pursued claims are entitled to just €10,000 each in compensation.
Ryanair has also been ordered to pay all crew members who pursued claims six months additional salary.
Earlier this year, six other pilots at the base won €350,000 each in compensation because the same court ruled that Ryanair had created a “seriously disrupted employment relationship” over its handling of the base closure. Two other pilots were awarded €400,000 and €425,000 respectively because they were b0th close to retirement and would, therefore, find it difficult to find another job at a comparable level.