A former Ryanair cabin crew member won a legal victory against the low-fare airline in a Norwegian court on Wednesday, 21 August. The case, backed by ITF affiliate Parat, sought to decide in which country Allesandra Cocca could take Ryanair to court.
Cocca, who worked out of Ryanair’s Norwegian base, argued that Ryanair should be tried in a Norwegian court. Ryanair, which is registered in Ireland, argued that an Irish court should hear the charges. In the past, Ryanair has avoided tough labour laws in some European countries by claiming that those working on board its aircraft are working in Ireland, and therefore subject to less stringent Irish labour laws.
The ruling that Cocca worked in Norway and not Ireland is hugely significant for the aviation industry and the threat of aviation ‘flags of convenience’. Increasingly, airlines seek to make savings by restructuring operations to countries with lower costs and standards than their traditional country of operation. This drives down global minimum standards and could potentially make the worldwide civil aviation industry less safe for workers and passengers.
Parat called the ruling ‘a fantastic victory, and the start of fair competition within European aviation’. Elisabeth Goffeng of ITF-affiliated Cabin Crew Union Norway said: ‘This is an important first step to protect the rights and conditions of mobile workers within aviation. However the future of this case may face turbulence…it remains to be determined whether Norwegian National Labour Legislation or the corresponding EU legislation is to be applied.” She continued that: “It is also gratifying that the two major Norwegian Unions (LO/Parat) are in co-operation in this legal case. Unity makes us stronger in all areas and is beneficial for all our members.