Ryanair raided for ‘illegally’ filming staff

Low-cost airline Ryanair has been accused of illegally setting up surveillance cameras to spy on its employees at Rygge Airport in Moss, south of Oslo.

Ryanair raided for 'illegally' filming staff
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary visited Norway in April. File photo: Scanpix
Agents from Norway's Data Protection Authority raided the Irish airline's premises unannounced to inspect the cameras, which were installed this January.
“They have set up multiple cameras,” Bjørn Erik Thon, the head of the authority, told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. “The rule is that you cannot film more than is strictly necessary for security." 
The authority has submitted a report arguing that Ryanair failed to apply for permission to film employees, filmed more than necessary to prevent theft, and stored the images for too long. 
The cameras were set up in the building where employees receive shift information, eat meals, and store money from sales onboard flights.

Ryanair has argued that the cameras were needed to prevent theft of cash collected from onboard sales, and that the building is subject to Irish rather than Norwegian law, claims Thon rejected. 
"In that case, you should install a safe to prevent burglary," he said of the theft risk. "Then you only need to film the safe. You don't need to film employees when they're eating."
As for the building, he argued that it could not possibly be subject to Irish law.  “It’s a location that is in Norway, leased through a contract with an airport in Norway," he said. 

The case is the latest in a string of problems faced by the airline in Norway over its treatment of staff in Norway, who are employed under Irish, rather than Norwegian contracts, something the airline argues frees it from local labour laws. 
The airline said it did "not comment on pending administrative matters". 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Ryanair settles landmark Norway ‘slave contract’ case with ex-stewardess

Ryanair has settled a landmark case with an ex-air stewardess in Norway who described the company's working conditions like being on a "slave contract".

Ryanair settles landmark Norway 'slave contract' case with ex-stewardess
Cocca's union says the settlement is a 'victory for all workers in Norway'. File picture: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Ryanair has agreed to pay 570,000 kroner (€64,000) to a former stewardess who claimed she was wrongly dismissed, her union said Friday. She described Ryanair's working conditions as being on a “slave contract”.

The four-year-long case has received a lot of attention since the Italian stewardess Alessandra Cocca fought to have her case heard in Norway, where she was based and where employee protection is much stronger than in Ireland. It has been heard in Norwegian courts twice already.

“After two court rounds, we’re now ready to settle this issue,” Parat labour union lawyer Christen Horn said of the settlement arrangement which he said amounts to an equivalent of about three of Cocca’s annual salaries while at Ryanair.

Parat spokesman Vegard Einan said the settlement agreement was a ”victory for all workers in Norway”.

“A number of sectors, with the airline industry at the helm, are in the midst of becoming internationalised. In many areas, the free-flow of capital and labour is positive, but our mission, as a powerful union, is to protect the rights of workers based in Norway,” he was cited by news agency NTB as saying.

“This case has confirmed that that international companies which wish to operate in Norway cannot escape from their obligations, like Ryanair tried to in this case.” 

In a statement released to The Local, Ryanair said it rejected Parat's claims. 

“Ms Cocca (who began flying for Crewlink in April 2012) was dismissed in January 2013 by Crewlink during her probation, after being offloaded from a flight by the Captain for her failure to comply with key safety requirements. This incident was the last in a series of safety failures by this individual during her 10 month period of employment with Crewlink,” the airline said. 

“Crewlink settled this case, as the legal costs of the trial in the Norwegian courts would far exceed the settlement payment, a case which no longer has any relevance since Ryanair no longer operates any bases in Norway following the Oct ’16 closure of the Rygge base.”