AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch authorities have denied Ryanair (RYA.I) the right to lay off pilots and crew members who refused to move away from the Netherlands following the contested closure of the company’s base in the country.
Ryanair said last month that it would fire 16 Dutch pilots and 15 cabin crew members who refused to relocate after the company’s decision to shut its base in Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands.
Under Dutch law, companies planning to make staff redundant must secure approval from the government’s social security department, UWV, to ensure they abide by labour regulations and have good grounds for their plan.
A spokesman for the FNV labour union, Leen van der List, said UWV had rejected the airline’s plan to make the Dutch workers redundant as the company had failed to negotiate a severance plan.
A spokeswoman for UWV confirmed that the department had rejected Ryanair’s plan but would not give details.
Ryanair was not immediately available for comment.
“Ryanair will have to talk to us,” Van der List said. “They will have to convince us of the absolute necessity to close the base.”
A Dutch court in November said the low-cost carrier had abused its powers as an employer by ordering crew to move abroad, and said the shutdown of Eindhoven seemed to be retaliation for the European-wide strikes Dutch pilots had joined last year.
After the court’s ruling, Ryanair said the crew members still had the choice between a base transfer, to a country with lower wages, or redundancy.
Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Susan Fenton