French court charges Ryanair over employment law

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French prosecutors have charged Ryanair with illegal working practices after the Irish budget airline declared 120 employees in France as working in Ireland, a justice source said Tuesday.

The charges, brought on Monday, relate to several labour laws including those banning concealed employment, preventing workplace councils from operating and preventing access to unions, the source said.

Employees living in France should be declared in France, say the unions who lodged the legal complaint. Ryanair has its French hub in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, with four aircraft.

Ryanair was not immediately available to comment on the court case, although the airline's boss Michael O'Leary threatened in May to pull out of Marseille if his company was brought before French courts.

He said at the time that Ryanair's 120 employees in Marseille pay their taxes, social security and pension payments in Ireland "in conformity with European law."

A French court in 2007 dismissed a complaint by Ryanair against a law saying that employees of foreign airlines living in France have to come under French social security and tax law.

Ryanair has taken its case to the European Court of Human Rights.

In April, a French court fined British budget airline EasyJet 1.4 million euros (1.88 million dollars) for violating French labour laws by hiring 170 employees under British contracts at Paris Orly airport.

© 2010 AFP

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