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Czechia: Ryanair accused of union-busting as three employees dismissed after informing management of newly formed cabin crew union

Ryanair has been accused of union-busting after the dismissal of three union leaders - Matteo Pizzolato, Andrea Schiraldi, Izhar Arcos Poveda – by Buzz (part of Ryanair Group) on 29 May 2020 in Czechia. According to public reports, the three union leaders were dismissed the day after they informed Ryanair of the existence of the newly formed cabin crew union B.United and requested a meeting to discuss working conditions and contracts.

The union described Ryanair’s actions as a “direct attack on the right to organise of all Ryanair workers and as an extreme intimidation tactic” and has undertaken to oppose what it describes as Ryanair’s “unlawful actions” with the assistance of Odborový svaz dopravy, the Czech transport federation.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ryanair to respond to the allegations. In its response, Ryanair cited COVID-19 as the reason for Buzz deciding to terminate the contracts of 20 Prague-based cabin crew employees. The full response is included below.  

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Company response
20 July 2020

Response by Ryanair

: Ryanair

The Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented crisis for the aviation industry. 99% of our fleet has been grounded for 4 months and we are now facing a new environment of lower fares and distorted competition due to below cost selling by inefficient airlines propped up by €30bn of unlawful State Aid. 

We expect to lose over €200M in Q1 (Apr-Jun) and will carry no more than 80M passengers this year of our original 155M budget. As a result we are implementing 3,000 job cuts across our European network. Regrettably Buzz, a subsidiary of the Ryanair Group, was forced to terminate the contracts of 20 Prague-based cabin crew.

To minimise job losses as we adjust to this new environment, we are working with our people on sensible emergency cost saving measures to preserve as many jobs as possible at a time when all airlines across Europe are cutting jobs to survive this unprecedented crisis

Article
5 June 2020

Czechia: Cabin crew union B.United accuses Ryanair of undermining freedom of association & creating environment of fear as three union leaders dismissed after formation of union

: European Transport Workers’ Federation

“Ryanair cabin crew members in Prague fired after unionising”, 05 June 2020

Cabin crew union B.United was recently registered in the Czech Republic, representing direct Ryanair employees and agency workers. Only a day after they notified the company of the existence of the new union and requested a meeting to discuss working conditions, three union leaders were fired. They shared their story with us, taking us through their experience of working for the company, shining a light on Ryanair’s anti-union practices.

… [I]n September 2019 … we started to hear rumours about a change in management … it wasn’t Ryanair … that we worked for, but Buzz, its sister company … We were given a week to decide whether we wanted to sign a new contract or move to a different base…

The lack of clarity is a constant issue with working for Ryanair … when working, things change: it often doesn’t correspond to our records.

 We tried to speak to management to discuss some of the main issues but never got very far with them…

This is the time when the decision to organise a union really crystallised for us…

…The company has created a patchwork of different employment statuses … meaning that workers have different pay, different entitlements, and different interests. … The company is also successful at creating a stressful environment … and you always feel under threat … people are scared of retaliation from the company.

With the help of OSD, we will oppose these, in our opinion, unlawful actions … we are ready to fight for our rights and ensure that Ryanair is held accountable for their anti-union and anti-worker actions.

Read the full post here

Article
5 June 2020

Czechia: LabourStart accuses Ryanair of union busting as three union leaders dismissed after informing management of formation of new union

: LabourStart

“Czech Republic: Stop union busting at Ryanair”, June 2020

Cabin crew union B.United was recently registered in the Czech Republic, representing direct Ryanair employees and agency workers. The workers notified Ryanair on 28 May that the union exists and requested an emergency meeting on 1 June. A day later, on 29 May, three union leaders -- Matteo Pizzolato, Andrea Schiraldi, Izhar Arcos Poveda -- were fired by Ryanair. This is a clear attack on the right to organise of all Ryanair workers and an extreme intimidation tactic. The workers are determined to oppose these actions with the help of the Czech union Odborový svaz dopravy (OSD).

Read the full post here