Ryanair faces an €8.3m (£6.5m) penalty after losing an appeal against a ruling that it breached French labour laws by employing 127 local staff on Irish contracts.
The airline was fined €200,000 and must pay €8.1m in damages to trade unions, France’s social security system and pilots among others.
The airline argued that as the employees operating planes in and out of Marseille worked on Irish aircraft for an Irish company they were liable for the cheaper social insurance payments due in Ireland.
An appeal court in Aix-en-Provence upheld the original ruling from a year ago, when the airline had been charged with avoiding paying payroll and other taxes, as well as preventing workplace councils from functioning and hampering employees’ access to unions. Ryanair argued that its crew had already seen insurance and pension contributions paid in full in Ireland, complying with EU regulations.
Airlines Easyjet and Cityjet have both previously received fines for similar breaches of French law.
Ryanair had argued that a 2006 French decree on airline workers clashed with EU labour regulations, and warned last year that if it was ultimately forced to pay these social taxes and pension contributions in France, it would be reclaiming most of its previous payments from the Irish government.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010