Ryanair will press ahead with plans to move Polish staff on to self-employed contracts, the airline’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said.
Ryanair is already trying to cope with an industrial relations revolt across the region, with pilots and cabin crew staging strikes in several countries over employment conditions.
In Poland, a union representing Polish cabin crew has refused to sign the new contracts which the company’s local subsidiary wants to introduce.
But Mr Jacobs said the new contract reflected the local market. “It’s the local type of contract, the same as [national Polish carrier] LOT and other airlines.”
Many Polish Ryanair staff are currently on contracts provided by the parent company, but are being asked to transfer to the new contracts as Ryanair’s main operation in Poland is handed to Ryanair Sun, a local subsidiary.
Paulo Conceicao, secretary of the Polish cabin crew union, CWR, who works as cabin crew at Ryanair, said that the self-employed contract would mean staff would lose important rights such as sick pay and maternity leave.
“All the rights embedded into your labour contract are liquidated,” he said.
Analysts have said that the transfer to self-employed contracts gives airlines more flexibility and will save them money.
Mr Jacobs said staff would get higher salaries as a result of the shift and could also be relocated elsewhere in Europe if they are not satisfied with the contracts.
Ryanair’s shares were up marginally, by just under 1%, yesterday.