After a decade-long legal battle, Ryanair has been found guilty of concealing work in Marseille, with another trial expected to follow.
The French criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation rejected Ryanair's appeal against the Paris Court of Appeal judgment on October 17, 2023. This ruling ends a ten-year-long legal battle between the pension fund for professional civil aeronautics flight personnel (CRPN) and Ryanair over acts committed on French territory between 2007 and 2010. During this period, the Irish company employed 127 workers in Marseille without paying social security contributions in France.
Ryanair has been involved in a case concerning its employees' payment and remuneration conditions in France. The low-cost airline has been accused of paying its employees under Irish law, which has lower levies, instead of French law. Additionally, the company has not established employee representative bodies, such as a works council and staff representatives.
Ryanair has always contested the November 21, 2006 decree, which subjects foreign companies' cabin crews to French law. The company argues that its planes only land temporarily in France and that the staff takes instructions from Dublin headquarters.
The French judges ruled against Ryanair and ordered the company to pay €8 million in damages. Of this amount, €3 million is for the Cabin Personnel Pension Fund, €4.5 million for URSSAF, and €490,000 for the employment center. In addition, other sums will be given to professional unions and seafarers involved in the trial.
According to Michel Janot, CRPN's board of directors chairman, "No airline can carry out its operations in France without following the rules and affiliating all aircrew to our retirement institution." This legal victory confirms their intention and ability to fight fraud. They will continue to fight against fraudulent activities, and all aircrew based in France must come under their institution.
It has been reported that a new trial, known as Ryanair II, is expected to commence soon for cases relating to concealed work between April 2011 and May 15, 2014. The CRPN is determined to pursue justice and secure another conviction against Ryanair for the period above.