Ryanair Fined £6.7m For Labour Law Breach
Ryanair has been ordered to pay fines and damages totalling £6.7m by a French court for violating the country's labour laws.
The no-frills carrier faced several charges including registering workers employed in France as Irish employees, preventing workplace councils from functioning and preventing access to unions.
Ryanair said the majority of the financial penalties related to alleged non-payment of social insurance and state pension contributions in France for Ryanair crews.
The case centred around a facility operated by the company at Marignane, near the southern French cities of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.
Ryanair, which plans to appeal, said it had believed it was operating there under Irish law.
In a statement released ahead of the judgment, the company said: "We will appeal any such negative ruling (and fine) on the basis that European employment and social security law clearly allows mobile workers on Irish registered aircraft, working for an Irish airline, to pay their taxes and social taxes in Ireland."
It claimed the laws it was said to have fallen foul of were specifically introduced in 2006 as state protection for the loss-making Air France and to limit competition to high fare Air France from lower cost airlines.
Another low budget carrier, EasyJet, was ordered to pay more than £1m in damages to unions representing crew for hiring 170 employees under British contracts at a Paris airport in 2010.
Prosecutors in the Ryanair cased argued there was no doubt the airline was operating in France, given that it had material and staff based permanently at Marseille and its employees lived in the area.
"We are dealing with a company whose only goal is to counter the law in defiance of the interests of workers," the prosecution argued.