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Ryanair’s Low-Cost Austrian Subsiderary Blocked from Laying-Off 550 Employees

Ryanair’s Low-Cost Austrian Subsiderary Blocked from Laying-Off 550 Employees

Laudamotion. Photo Credit: Marvin Mutz via Flickr

Laudamotion has been stopped from implementing a mass lay-off involving 550 employees after the Austrian employment service rejected an application from the Ryanair-owned low-cost airline. Laudamotion had wanted to temporarily lay-off many of its pilots, cabin crew and ground staff to save costs while the Coronavirus crisis keeps aircraft grounded.

The airline had initially applied for its employees to be placed on short-time work – a process in which the Austrian government picks up much of the employees wages during their downtime. But that application was rejected because Laudamotion doesn’t recognise an employee-led works council.

Laudamotion then warned it would have no choice but to lay-off its workers but again, this plan was rejected by the Austrian authorities. Bosses at the Ryanair subsidiary are said to be no incensed with the decision that they are planning on making a complaint to the European Commission.

According to media outlets in Austria, Laudamotion is unhappy that employees at rival airline Austrian Airlines, which is owned by the Lufthansa Group, have already been placed on a government-backed short-time work contract. Austrian has won approvals for 7,000 of its workers to go onto short-time work after it suspended all normal commercial operations.

It appears that until Laudamotion recognises a works council, it will be unable to gain financial support from the Austrian government. Laudamotion has been in dispute about recognising a works council since last year.

Austria’s minister of labor, Christina Aschbacher has told Laudamotion that it must comply with local employment laws if it wants support but bosses at the airline failed to turn up for talks to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

In March, Laudamotion’s passenger numbers fell by 50 per cent and Ryanair’s by 48 per cent. The airline has now suspended all flights for all of April and May, except for some special repatriation and medical flights.

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