Press Notes

27/07/2021
Farewell to bogus self-employment at Ryanair
The agreement signed between Sepla and Ryanair includes the progressive incorporation into the workforce of all pilots who were operating as bogus self- employees.

Sepla achieved last Friday one of its historical demands: to finish with bogus self-employment at Ryanair. After months of negotiations, it was possible to sign an agreement whose purpose is the incorporation through the signing of employment contracts under Spanish law of more than 120 pilots who continued to operate for Ryanair under bogus Self-Employment regime, a figure repeatedly denounced as fraudulent by both Sepla and the European Pilots Association.

 

Since the constitution of the Sepla Company Council at Ryanair in 2017 and the subsequent recognition of the Syndicate by the company, regularizing the freelancers at Ryanair has been one of the company council's objectives. During this time, in fact, it has managed to progressively incorporate the bogus self-employees into the workforce, which went from being around 80% of the total number of pilots in 2017 to the current 15%. Now, with this agreement, Sepla has managed to ensure that by the end of 2022 this figure, also known as "contractor", will be completely eradicated in the bases that the Irish company has in Spain. A historic milestone that has yet to become a reality in most European countries.

 

A gradual incorporation

 

The agreement describes the current mechanism by which bogus self-employees operate at Ryanair, which acknowledges using them through the intermediary company McGinley. This broker maintained a contractual relationship under Irish law with the pilots, forming a complex corporate network that apparently disassociated Ryanair from its employees through various intermediary steps.

 

The incorporation of these 120 pilots to the workforce will be staggered in three phases. The first, before September 30 of this year, will be to hire 20 commanders and 30 co-pilots. Subsequently, Ryanair is to offer contracts to all of the remaining captain contractors, as well as 30 co-pilots, by summer, 2022. Finally, all the contractor co-pilots remaining at that time pending regularization will be incorporated into the workforce before winter 2022. This process is voluntary for pilots. If they refuse this contract, they may be reassigned to other bases outside Spain. 

 

In terms of conditions, pilots will be able to maintain their base, joining the ranks according to their years in the company, although without being positioned above the rest of pilots with the same seniority. Salaries will be the same as those currently applied to the rest of the workforce, i.e. those agreed in the 2020 framework agreement (known as the Cornerstone Agreement), with the temporary 20% reduction agreed as a survival measure before the COVID.

 

This agreement is a further step in the rapprochement between Ryanair and the company council, in the framework of the negotiations towards the first collective agreement, which Sepla hopes to sign in the coming months.

 

Four years of tough negotiations

 

Since the Ryanair Company Council within Sepla was established in the fall of 2017, much progress has been made to ensure that Ryanair respects Spanish labor law. One year after its “birth”, and thanks to the pressure made by all the collective, Ryanair recognized Sepla as the legitimate representative of the pilots, and talks began to negotiate the pilots' working conditions, which should crystallize in the future signing of the I Pilots Collective Agreement. During this time, Sepla's membership has also increased enormously, from being residual to representing almost 90% of Ryanair pilots in Spain.

 

On this path, Ryanair's Company Council has achieved countless victories in court, in addition to vital agreements on the working and living conditions of its pilots, such as the framework agreement of April 2020, a document that lays the foundations of the collective agreement and regulates aspects such as wages, vacations or the hierarchy.

 

The current agreement to regularize the contractors is a further step in the strengthening and normalization of relations between Europe's leading passenger airline and its pilots in Spain.

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