Ireland’s pioneering low-cost airline Ryanair has been found guilty of breaking French labour laws and ordered by a court in Aix-en-Provence to pay more than nine million euros in fines and back payments.
Ryanair insists that its employees are liable only for Ireland’s lower payroll taxes because they are only on French soil momentarily. Now the French have hit the airline for unpaid national insurance contributions.
“First of all, Ryanair is condemned to the maximum fine. And secondly, the sentence is subject to publicity measures such as the display of the decision with publications in the press,” said the pilots’ union lawyer Roland Rappaport.
The decision could have repercussions, as many French and European regional airports pay Ryanair to bring its business their way. Another lawyer for the French pilots’ union says anyone paying subsidies to Ryanair will now be aware they are supporting an illegal activity, and could face legal challenges.