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Spain: unions claim new Ryanair contracts break the law
Planet Labor, 13 December 2019, n°11548 -

Sign the new deal or lose your job. This was the offer Ryanair made to the 164 employees at its base in Girona, north of Barcelona. The airline company had announced the closure of four sites in Spain, before ultimately agreeing to keep the Girona premises open, provided staff sign individual contracts that would drastically alter their pay and working conditions without recourse to collective bargaining. Under the new contracts, employees will work the equivalent of nine months per year, with interspersed periods of unemployment and be hit with a 25% cut to annual pay. Meanwhile cabin crew will be recategorized as ‘client service agents’ and their length of service in their role will be erased. All the employees that refused to sign the deal were included in the redundancy plan set to take effect from 8 January. The USO, Sitcpla and SEPLA have expressed opposition against these agreements, obtained amid significant pressure and the threat of the Girona site’s complete closure. They have brought what they deem to be irregularities before Spain’s labour inspectorate, which is examining the legality of a process that involved a substantial modification of working conditions, wages and seniority, with out any compensation in return. The unions denounce an “infringement to the fundamental right to freedom of association and collective bargaining”. They point out that, according to the Spanish labour code, companies with less than 300 employees can modify working conditions without going through collective bargaining if the changes do not affect more than 10% of employees, which would not be the case in this instance.