Ryanair's boss Michael O'Leary is not known for his civility and diplomacy. He has called customers stupid. Likewise, he calls authorities insisting on passengers using seatbelts 'plonkers.' He wants to make more profits by creating standing seats in Ryanair planes. And he puts improper pressure on pilots.
Ryanair breaks EU Regulation EU261/2004 on a regular basis by refusing to compensate passengers on delayed flights. And he attempts to dismiss employees who think they have certain rights. But the latter may cost Ryanair almost €3 million ($3.5 million).
In 2017, Ryanair pilots based at Eindhoven, a secondary airport in the Netherlands, are negotiating their collective labor agreement with Ryanair. However, the negotiations do not have any result and the pilots go on strike.
Ryanair tries to intimidate them by threatening to close its base in Eindhoven. As a result, the pilots would have to move from the Netherlands to another country, for example Portugal. The airline claims that there is a business case for the base closure: Eindhoven would become too expensive.
The pilots feel intimidated and go to court. The judges consider it implausible that there is a business case forcing the low cost carrier to close its Eindhoven base. They also observe that Ryanair put repeatedly and in different ways improper pressure on the pilots during the dispute.
The court considers Ryanair's behavior seriously culpable. The airline has created a situation in which it is impossible for the pilots to work. Therefore, they are entitled to punitive damages. Six pilots are entitled to €350,000 ($390,000), a 7th pilot to €400,000 ($446,000) and an 8th pilot to €425,000 ($474,000).
… and transition compensation
The judges argue that it is more difficult for the latter 2 pilots to find another job. Therefore, Ryanair must also pay the pilots a transition compensation - varying from €33,000 ($37.000) to €84,000 ($94,000) - in addition to the damages. Ryanair can appeal against the ruling, but the odds it will win, are slim.
Related: "Ryanair passengers are stupid"
Tags: Ryanair, labor dispute, improper pressure, punitive damages