Irish law to rule them all? Not here, says a Dutch court

The Hague (AFP) - A Dutch appeals court has ruled that employees of the Irish budget carrier Ryanair who are based in the Netherlands are covered by Dutch law, in a decision made public Tuesday.

In a case which could have wider implications, judges threw out objections by Ryanair against a lower court victory which found in favour of a former cabin crew member. She had turned to the courts after being fired for refusing to be transferred from her base in southern Eindhoven to Dublin.

“The appeals court rejects the argument of Ryanair that Irish law was applicable,” said the appeals court in Den Bosch, also awarding the former staff member 25,000 euros in compensation.

Ryanair had argued that as its planes fly under Irish flags and most of its employees work on board planes, staff were covered by Irish law.

The court ruling came a few days after unions in several countries called on Ryanair cabin crew to go on strike to protest the company’s employment practices in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

The labour unions are demanding that Ryanair apply the legislation applicable in each country where it employs staff.

Last month, the low-frills airline agreed for the first time to recognise cabin crew staff who have union membership, but only in Italy.

That deal came after Ryanair was forced to cancel 20,000 flights between September and March due to pilot shortages and long-standing grievances over pay.