Last Update: at 12:08

Closing of Hamburg base

German pilots want to take Ryanair to court

The Irish low-cost airline is closing its bases in Hamburg and Nuremberg and wants to transfer pilots abroad. They are not playing along and want to take legal action.

The Ryanair pilots in Hamburg are having a tough time. In October, the Irish low-cost airline announced that it would close its base in Hamburg on 8 January 2020. In November, the cockpit crews found out where they could move within the company: For twelve months after Fes and Marrakesh in Morocco. Ryanair also said that there were some part time jobs available in East Midlands, Faro or Prestwick.

However, the pilots didn’t like these options very much. At the beginning of December, the legal department of the Pilots Union Vereinigung Cockpit wrote to its members that Ryanair had meanwhile assigned other stations to the Hamburg pilots. «In almost all cases it was a station outside of Germany», the document that has been seen by aeroTELEGRAPH states.

Inapplicable under German labour law?

The union’s legal department further states that it believes a transfer abroad is not effective and will not hold up to judicial review. It recommends that pilots oppose the transfer and attaches a sample letter stating, for example: «I believe that a transfer to station XXX is invalid under German labour law».

The situation has not improved since then – on the contrary, even. In a letter from the Ryanair wage commission to the Cockpit Association dated 13 December, it was stated that ideas such as voluntary reductions in pilots to 75 percent part-time had been rejected by Ryanair or not heard at all. However, the airline is now subject to German labour law.

Legal action «unavoidable»

It is necessary to enforce this by legal means. It seemed «unavoidable» to file a temporary injunction at the Labour Court in Hamburg. This is all the more true as it has since become known that the Nuremberg base is shutting down as well. The whole thing is likely to be repeated there.

Neither Ryanair nor the Cockpit Association answered questions from aeroTELEGRAPH about the planned transfers and possible legal steps until the publication of the article.

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