Airline staff win right to be heard in national courts

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has welcomed the European Court of Justice ruling that Ryanair staff in Belgium can take complaints to national courts, rejecting the company’s claim that it is subject only to Irish law.

“This is a significant step forward, that will play an important role in vindicating the rights of workers across the sector and beyond, into the future,” said an ICTU spokesman.

The ECJ found that in disputes relating to employment contracts, air crew members have the right to bring proceedings before the courts of the place where they perform the main part of their duties.

Irish unions SIPTU and IMPACT (IALPA), representing airline pilots, also acclaimed the outcome. Said SIPTU organiser Greg Ennis: “This ECJ ruling is a significant milestone in the journey to achieving better terms and conditions for all Ryanair employees right across Europe. The ruling establishes the rights of mobile aviation workers to have their grievances heard under the laws of the country from which they work.”

“This is a great judgement for everyone who works in the aviation industry in Europe,” agreed IALPA president Captain Evan Cullen. “It helps to empower aviation workers in any dispute with their employer by giving them access to the courts in their country of residence.”

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The Ruling

Photo: Adrian Pingstone