ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian jurisdiction!

Join this forum to discuss the latest news that happened in the world of commercial aviation.

Moderator: Latest news team

Inquirer
Posts: 1987
Joined: 14 Feb 2012, 14:30

ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian jurisdiction!

Post by Inquirer » 14 Sep 2017, 11:37

According to:
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2017/09/14 ... echt--oor/
https://www.aviation24.be/airlines/ryana ... -irish-one
http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ryanai ... KKCN1BP0V6
In a case referred to it by a Belgian labour court, The European Court of Justice has ruled that crew flying for Ryanair based at Charleroi fall under Belgian, not Irish, labour jurisdiction.

The ground braking case was brought before the ECJ after a Belgian labour court asked it to rule on the matter on behalf of 6 Ryanair employees.

The ECJ decision effectively means that the company's standard principle of applying Irish labour laws also to its crews based outside of Ireland is a violation of 'the principle that European rules concerning jurisdiction over labour laws are aimed at protecting the weaker party and so Ryanair employees within the EU are legally entitled to go before those courts which he or she regards as closest to this interests'.

The ground braking ruling in this specific case will likely have implications across the entire low-cost airline sector.



convair
Posts: 1751
Joined: 18 Nov 2011, 00:02

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by convair » 14 Sep 2017, 12:33

So, like in an election, everyone claims to have won!

User avatar
luchtzak
Posts: 11232
Joined: 18 Sep 2002, 00:00
Location: Hofstade, Zemst - Belgium
Contact:

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by luchtzak » 14 Sep 2017, 12:44

convair wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 12:33
So, like in an election, everyone claims to have won!
:?

Passenger
Posts: 6198
Joined: 06 Dec 2010, 20:54

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by Passenger » 14 Sep 2017, 12:47

convair wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 12:33
So, like in an election, everyone claims to have won!
In this case it's obvious that there is only one winner.

Ryanair stated that only Irish law applies for Belgium-based crew. Judge now says ...no Ryanair, that clause in your labour contracts is invalid: Belgian law applies for Belgium-based crew.

User avatar
luchtzak
Posts: 11232
Joined: 18 Sep 2002, 00:00
Location: Hofstade, Zemst - Belgium
Contact:

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by luchtzak » 14 Sep 2017, 12:50

Passenger wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 12:47
convair wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 12:33
So, like in an election, everyone claims to have won!
In this case it's obvious that there is only one winner.

Ryanair stated that only Irish law applies for Belgium-based crew. Judge now says ...no Ryanair, that clause in your labour contracts is invalid: Belgian law applies for Belgium-based crew.
ECJ ruling is ‘defeat for Ryanair and victory for workers’ rights’

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and ETF (European Transport Workers’ Federation) have welcomed a ruling today by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as a major defeat for Ryanair on workers’ rights.

The Court established that disputes over a cabin crew member’s contract of employment fall within the jurisdiction of the courts of the country from which they carry out their duties – not those of a country such as Ireland which the airline might choose to suit its own interests.

The ruling in the joined cases of Nogueira et al vs Crewlink (Ryanair’s recruitment agency) and Osacar vs Ryanair, establishes the rights of mobile aviation workers to have their grievances heard under the laws of the country from which they work. It determines that an employee can sue his or her employer at a court which he or she regards as closest to him or her. This is a vital step for those who need to seek redress in matters relating to individual contracts of employment.

The ruling brought together multiple cases of cabin crew members from Belgium, Spain and Portugal, all of whom had had employment problems (such as wrongful dismissal cases) with Ryanair/Crewlink, which had attempted to have them heard in Ireland, irrespective of where the crew members lived and worked.

ITF general secretary Steve Cotton explained: “This ruling is a defeat for Ryanair and a victory for workers’ rights. It upholds the fundamental principle of protecting mobile workers in aviation by ensuring that they can hold their employer to account in the country from which they genuinely discharge their duties – not in a nation which they may never have visited and whose courts are foreign and based hundreds of miles from home and place of work.”

Eduardo Chagas, general secretary of the ETF commented: ““I am confident that this ruling will empower the workers in all airlines that want to circumvent national law and pick the jurisdiction that best serves their interests. The home base from which you work is the obvious criterion when defending the legitimate labour rights of mobile staff inside the EU.

“I would like to pay respect to the workers and their unions who stood up and fought for their rights. This this ruling is an important victory in the fight against social dumping in aviation.

“I would also like to thank the ITF/ETF-affiliated CNE union from Belgium for supporting this ground-breaking court case”

The ruling followed a question asked by the Labour Court of Mons (Belgium) and has today found that under Regulation (EC) 44/2001 a crew member can sue their employer in front of the appropriate labour court. This is a major setback for Ryanair, which has been claiming for years that only Irish courts can hear cases from anyone of any nationality and any home base who works for it, since, among other things, its aircraft are registered in Ireland.

sean1982
Posts: 3163
Joined: 18 Mar 2003, 00:00
Contact:

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by sean1982 » 14 Sep 2017, 16:23

That sorts the worker right for crew who work for NOBOX on behalf of cityjet on behalf of SN as well then :) They better get a move on before someone takes them to court as well.

User avatar
sn26567
Posts: 35195
Joined: 13 Feb 2003, 00:00
Location: Rosières/Rozieren, Belgium
Contact:

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by sn26567 » 14 Sep 2017, 17:22

In today's press conference in Brussels, Eddie Wilson ("Chief People Officer': what's in a title?) also discussed the ECJ ruling and came to some strange conclusions: the contracts remain Irish; but the ruling is about the jurisdiction, not the choice of law.

https://www.aviation24.be/airlines/ryana ... mmer-2018/
André
ex Sabena #26567

Passenger
Posts: 6198
Joined: 06 Dec 2010, 20:54

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by Passenger » 14 Sep 2017, 18:46

sean1982 wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 16:23
That sorts the worker right for crew who work for NOBOX on behalf of cityjet on behalf of SN as well then. They better get a move on before someone takes them to court as well.
The press release is a summary from the court verdict. It’s no obligation to read it, but if you would have done so, you would understand that the trade union dispute Cityjet-Nobox-Brussels Airlines differs substantionally from the case that Ryanair has just lost (= Belgian crew based at a Belgian airport). Me thinks that the Belgian unions won't take Brussels Airlines to the labour tribunal - and certainly not to the labour court. Example: most of the SSJ pilots are non-Belgian, and they don't fly only on the Cityjet SSJ in Brussels Airlines colours.

To make if easy for you, I've copy/pasted the press release from the pdf:

"...Ryanair and Crewlink are companies established in Ireland. Ryanair is active in the international passenger air transport sector. Crewlink is specialised in the recruitment and training of cabin crew for airlines. Between 2009 and 2011, employees of Portuguese, Spanish and Belgian nationality were hired by Ryanair or by Crewlink, then assigned to Ryanair, as cabin crew (air hostesses and stewards).

All the employment contracts were drafted in English, subject to Irish law and included a jurisdiction clause providing that the Irish courts had jurisdiction. In those contracts, it was stipulated that the work of the employees concerned, as cabin crew, was regarded as being carried out in Ireland given that their duties were performed on board aircraft registered in that Member State. Those contracts nevertheless designated Charleroi airport (Belgium) as the employees’ ‘home base’. Those employees started and ended their working day at that airport, and they were contractually obliged to reside within an hour of their ‘home base’.

Taking the view that Crewlink and Ryanair had to comply with and apply the provisions of Belgian law and that the Belgian courts had jurisdiction to adjudicate on their claims, six employees brought proceedings before the Belgian courts in 2011. The cour du travail de Mons (Mons Higher Labour Court, Belgium), which must ascertain whether it has jurisdiction, decided to ask the Court of Justice how to interpret, in the EU Regulation on jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters, the concept of ‘place where the employee habitually carries out his work’ in the specific context of the air navigation sector and, more specifically, whether that concept can be treated in the same way as that of ‘home base’, within the meaning of an EU regulation in the field of civil aviation.

In today’s judgment, the Court points out first of all that, as regards disputes related to employment contracts, the European rules concerning jurisdiction are aimed at protecting the weaker party. Those rules enable inter alia an employee to sue his employer before the courts which he regards as closest to his interests, by giving him the option of bringing proceedings before the courts of the Member State in which the employer is domiciled or the courts of the place in which the employee habitually carries out his work.

The Court then upholds the reasoning of the referring court which had rightly considered that a jurisdiction clause, concluded before the disputes arose, and seeking to prevent employees from bringing proceedings before courts which do however have jurisdiction under EU legislation in this field, was not enforceable against those employees.

As regards the determination of the concept of ‘place where the employee habitually carries out his work’, the Court refers to its settled case-law according to which that concept covers the place where, or from which, the employee in fact performs the essential part of his duties vis-à-vis his employer. To determine specifically that place, the national court must refer to a set of indicia.

In the air transport sector, it is necessary in particular to establish in which Member State is situated (i) the place from which the employee carries out his transport-related tasks, (ii) the place where he returns after his tasks, receives instructions concerning his tasks and organises his work, and (iii) the place where his work tools are to be found. In the present case, the place where the aircraft aboard which the work is habitually performed is stationed must also be taken into account.

As regards, more specifically, whether the concept of ‘place where, or from which, the employee habitually performs his work’ can be equated with that of ‘home base’, the Court points out that, owing to the circumstantial method and in order to thwart strategies to circumvent the rules, that concept cannot be treated in the same way as any concept referred to in another act of EU law, including that of ‘home base’, within the meaning of an EU regulation in the field of civil aviation.


Nevertheless, the concept of ‘home base’ amounts to a significant indicator to determine, in circumstances such as those at issue, the place from which the employee habitually carries out his work.

It would only be if, taking account of the facts of each individual case, applications were to display closer connections with a place other than the ‘home base’ that the relevance of that base in identifying the ‘place from which employees habitually carry out their work’ would be undermined.

Finally, the Court states that the argument that the concept of ‘place where, or from which, the employee habitually performs his work’ cannot be equated with any other concept is also true as regards the ‘nationality’ of aircraft. Thus, nor can the Member State from which a member of staff habitually carries out his work be equated with the territory of the Member State of nationality of the aircraft of that company..."

sean1982
Posts: 3163
Joined: 18 Mar 2003, 00:00
Contact:

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by sean1982 » 14 Sep 2017, 18:53

I wasn't talking about the pilots but about the cabin crew who have been specifically recruited by NOBOX in Belgium and who start and finish their day at BRU and only fly for nobox under the SN wetlease contract. You could have saved yourself a very longwinded post there, again ....

Omychron
Posts: 39
Joined: 27 Sep 2012, 14:35

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by Omychron » 14 Sep 2017, 22:15

Odd how the discussion is turned from a ruling about Ryanair and its "creative" contracts/constructs (which has been going on for years, this ruling should have happened faster) to the SN wetlease contract.
Try as one might, they're not the same thing, and it's a sad attempt to get this thread off topic...
While a lot of points about SN wetlease might be correct, try posting in the applicable thread instead of changing the subject?

sean1982
Posts: 3163
Joined: 18 Mar 2003, 00:00
Contact:

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by sean1982 » 15 Sep 2017, 06:53

Omychron wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 22:15
Odd how the discussion is turned from a ruling about Ryanair and its "creative" contracts/constructs (which has been going on for years, this ruling should have happened faster) to the SN wetlease contract.
Try as one might, they're not the same thing, and it's a sad attempt to get this thread off topic...
While a lot of points about SN wetlease might be correct, try posting in the applicable thread instead of changing the subject?
While This ruling was about Ryanair in Belgium, it would be foolish not to look at the wider implications. Just about every airline in Europe does this, bar the major legacies (for the moment): easyjet, Norwegian,SAS, alitalia, ..... I feel this is definitely the right topic to discuss how this will affect the industry in Europe.

RTM
Posts: 356
Joined: 07 Apr 2013, 00:27

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by RTM » 15 Sep 2017, 07:08

Please, please, please, please, please... stop the bitchslapping...!!!

This topic is about the ruling against FR. It does impact other operators, and in a general sense it should be discussed here. If you want to refer to the specific SN Cityjet wetlease, use the appropriate, existing, topic... please, please...

User avatar
Airbus330lover
Posts: 747
Joined: 21 Jul 2005, 00:00
Location: Rixensart

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by Airbus330lover » 15 Sep 2017, 07:10

RTM wrote:
15 Sep 2017, 07:08
Please, please, please, please, please... stop the bitchslapping...!!!

This topic is about the ruling against FR. It does impact other operators, and in a general sense it should be discussed here. If you want to refer to the specific SN Cityjet wetlease, use the appropriate, existing, topic... please, please...
Or create a new one for the general impact

Poiu
Posts: 592
Joined: 14 Nov 2015, 09:38

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by Poiu » 15 Sep 2017, 09:15

Airbus330lover wrote:
15 Sep 2017, 07:10
RTM wrote:
15 Sep 2017, 07:08
Please, please, please, please, please... stop the bitchslapping...!!!

This topic is about the ruling against FR. It does impact other operators, and in a general sense it should be discussed here. If you want to refer to the specific SN Cityjet wetlease, use the appropriate, existing, topic... please, please...
Or create a new one for the general impact
Or change the title of this topic into a more general one..
The title is not correct by the way it's about jurisdiction not about under which law employees fall. That will probably be the next step, but lets remain correct in the mean time.

User avatar
sn26567
Posts: 35195
Joined: 13 Feb 2003, 00:00
Location: Rosières/Rozieren, Belgium
Contact:

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by sn26567 » 15 Sep 2017, 09:42

Poiu wrote:
15 Sep 2017, 09:15
The title is not correct by the way it's about jurisdiction not about under which law employees fall. That will probably be the next step, but lets remain correct in the mean time.
You are right. I change the title.

As Eddie Wilson of Ryanair explained yesterday in Brussels, the contracts remain Irish. The ECJ ruling is about jurisdiction, not about law.
André
ex Sabena #26567

Inquirer
Posts: 1987
Joined: 14 Feb 2012, 14:30

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian jurisdiction!

Post by Inquirer » 15 Sep 2017, 11:35

A small correction again, André, if I may?

'Belgian jurisdiction' and 'Belgian law' are very much interchangeable here, since any non-Irish court which accepts to hear a case will automatically apply its own law -not that of Ireland- as a court can never rule by any other law than it's own; it needs to refer the case to the competent foreign court in that case.

In the case of the crews in Charleroi, where a Belgian court asked the ECJ if it had to refer the case to an Irish court or could rule itself, 'Belgian jurisdiction' would effectively mean 'Belgian law' too: the ECJ has now formally established the right of any local (in this case Belgian) court to establish its jurisdiction over local Ryanair employees, so now it just needs to be formally established by the Belgian court then to take effect.

Theoretically the Belgian court could indeed still refer the case to Ireland, but that's very unlikely, otherwise there would not have been the need to refer the case to the ECJ first, but regardless, this ECJ ruling is applicable to all courts in the EU and with immediate effect, meaning that even if the Belgian court would still decide to refer this case to Ireland, Ryanair can still expect an avalanche of union sponsored lawsuits at local courts throughout Europe and it's a guarantee some militant courts will take on soms of those cases and thus rule on the matter based on local law: be it Belgian, French, German, Swedish etc.

When Mr Wilson says the law governing labour contracts at Ryanair is still the Irish one, he's actually misrepresenting the situation a little bit against all odds, IMHO: what he should rather say to be fully correct it that Irish law has lost its status as sole legal basis and has been renegaded to the default law, applicable only in the absence of any other local law. In the absence of any cases where a non-Irish court has already established its authority, his remarks are still correct, but I wouldn't dare to bet a cent on that being the case for much longer.

Anyway, it's an evolution long overdue: if you work in Belgium for a foreign company other that an airline (say VOLVO cars, or ING bank), you're working under Belgian rules too, aren't you? The weird exception foreseen for aviation firms is no longer in line with today's reality, and I'm personally quite happy to see the ECJ thinks the same.

Passenger
Posts: 6198
Joined: 06 Dec 2010, 20:54

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian jurisdiction!

Post by Passenger » 15 Sep 2017, 13:02

I agree with Inquirer. The EU Court verdict states that labour contracts for Belgium-based Belgian cabin crew are to be judged by a Belgian judge. That means, and contrary to what Ryanair says, that those labour contracts must comply to Belgian law. It's as simple as that.

This is catastrophic for Ryanair. Sure, they may keep their "Irish" labour contracts. But what the EU Court now has decided, is that when the Irish contract conflicts with local legislation, that local legislation preveals.

Just one example of such difference: first month of an illness for a CRL-based Belgian cabin crew: Irish legislation = no pay out. Belgian legislation: pay out.

OO-ITR
Posts: 688
Joined: 13 Aug 2011, 18:29

Re: ECJ: Ryanair crew based in Belgium fall under Belgian labour law!

Post by OO-ITR » 15 Sep 2017, 13:15

Omychron wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 22:15
Odd how the discussion is turned from a ruling about Ryanair and its "creative" contracts/constructs (which has been going on for years, this ruling should have happened faster) to the SN wetlease contract.
Try as one might, they're not the same thing, and it's a sad attempt to get this thread off topic...
While a lot of points about SN wetlease might be correct, try posting in the applicable thread instead of changing the subject?
Save your energy, that is what he always tries to do. Best thing is just to ignore it

Post Reply