European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

EFFAT welcomes European Court of Justice ruling in favour of Ryanair workers

14/09/2017

EFFAT welcomes the European Court of Justice’s ruling according to which Ryanair employees can sue their employer before the courts of the place where they work. The decision opposes Ryanair’s claim that Irish courts have jurisdiction as Irish contracts are in force, regardless of the fact that the Ryanair workers are based in Belgium.

The ruling was issued following multiple cases of cabin crew members having their concerns heard in Ireland, regardless of where their habitually carried out their work.

Welcoming the ruling Harald Wiedenhofer said: “This is a defeat for Ryanair and a real victory for both workers and access to justice, a basic principle of the rule of law. This landmark case is a major step towards reinforcing the “host-country” principle and guaranteeing the principle of equal treatment for all workers doing the same job at the same place, which is a core principle of the European Trade union movement and social rights’.

This decision states, importantly, that “as regards disputes related to employment contracts, the European rules concerning jurisdiction are aimed at protecting the weaker party”. This court decision adds already to a helpful body of jurisprudence when it comes to applying the law of the host country, such as the judgment in case C-396/13 Sähköalojen ammattiliitto ry v Elektrobudowa Spolka Akcyjna, which gave Finnish unions and Finnish courts the right to determine working conditions for foreign posted workers on the basis of Finnish laws and Finnish minimum conditions. 

 

For more on the judgement:
 https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2017-09/cp170097en.pdf

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.