Ryanair denies pressuring staff in Girona to accept new contracts
Low-cost airline says modified working conditions offered to employees in northern Catalan airport are legal, with "more than 100" accepting the terms
Low-cost airline Ryanair denied on Wednesday that it had put undue pressure on staff at its base in Girona airport and that the new contracts agreed with its employees there are in line with current Spanish labor legislation.
In a news conference in Barcelona, the company's head of human resources, Darrell Hugues, said that the new contracts have been used in other bases in Spain and that in Girona "people have the option of accepting them or not."
Hughes also confirmed that the company had received an official letter from Spain's labor ministry warning that the contracts must be within the law, and he said that "more than a hundred" employees had accepted the new conditions.
Ryanair's cabin crew and flight attendant unions, however, have filed a complaint in Spain's National Court for "coercion, fraud and attempted deception."
U-turn on Girona base closure
Some months ago, Ryanair announced that it was going to close its base in Girona airport, in the north of Catalonia, but later said it would be able to continue operating there if enough of its 164 employees agreed to new contract terms.
After weeks of talks with workers' representatives, a deal was reached in which pilots and cabin crew could keep their jobs if they agreed to work for only nine months of the year, with a corresponding loss of pay.
When it announced its intention to close its Girona base, the airline cited falling profits from less activity in the market "at a European level," and the delay in the delivery of new aircraft, which was halted because of security concerns.
2020 plans in Girona and other Catalan airports
In Wednesday's news conference, the company said it would in future leave one plane at Girona airport during the winter months, and raise that number to as many as five during the summer to cover the greater demand.
Ryanair also announced new routes for 2020 from Catalan airports. Flights to Athens and Riga will be added at Barcelona, while from Girona there will be flights to Alghero (Sardinia) and London Southend, with flights to London Stansted added in Reus airport.