Ryanair wants to sack all Eindhoven-based crew: union

The Hague (AFP) –


Ryanair has filed for the collective dismissal of all Dutch-based staff at its now shuttered base at Eindhoven airport, a union representing pilots said Wednesday.

The request is the latest in a three-month stand-off between the budget Irish-based carrier and staff based in the southern Dutch city, who are fighting plans to move them elsewhere in Europe.

Ryanair closed its base at southern Eindhoven early last month for the winter, citing financial considerations, after cutting the forecast for its annual net profit by 12 percent following a series of summer strikes.

Sixteen Dutch-based pilots then sued the no-frills flyer, asking judges for an urgent injunction, but Ryanair went ahead with the Eindhoven shutdown despite the court saying it had "abused its power".

The court also slapped down its plans to transfer the pilots to bases in other countries.

The budget airline has now asked the UWV, the country's social insurance administrator to approve the collective sacking of pilots and cabin crew, the Dutch pilots' union said.

The union said it would "support all its members" during the procedure, adding that it was "surprised" that the UWV was considering Ryanair's request.

Unions said 16 pilots and 15 cabin crew were affected.

Ryanair only began recognising unions for the first time in its 30-year history a year ago, to avert mass strikes during the busy Christmas period.

But a wave of industrial action by cabin and cockpit crew since then has dented profits.

The walkouts included two coordinated pan-European strikes that led to hundreds of flight cancellations.

In a bid to end the tensions, the no-frills airline has so far managed to clinch labour agreements with staff in several countries including Britain, Germany Portugal and Italy.