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Ryanair fined £6.7m for breaching French employment laws

October 4 2013

Low-cost airline Ryanair has been fined nearly £7m for breaching French employment laws.

The Ireland-based company faced a number of charges including registering workers employed in France as Irish employees.

Ryanair issued a statement outlining their intention to appeal the fine.

The case centred on a Ryanair facility in the south of France where the company believed they were operating under Irish law.

Ryanair had four planes and 127 employees at Marignane airport, near Marseille, without applying French employment laws or filling out tax declarations in the country, the case heard.

Lawyers for Ryanair insisted that their crews in Marseille worked for an airline with a registered office in Ireland, and pointed out that they spent their working day on Irish-registered planes.

Ryanair added the majority of the financial penalties related to alleged non-payment of social insurance and state pension contributions in France for Ryanair crews.

In a statement released ahead of the judgment, the company said: “We will appeal any such negative ruling (and fine) on the basis that European employment and social security law clearly allows mobile workers on Irish registered aircraft, working for an Irish airline, to pay their taxes and social taxes in Ireland.”

The company added that if it was forced to pay the social taxes and pension contributions in France, it believed it could reclaim the vast majority of those costs from the Irish government.

Prosecutors in the case argued there was no doubt the airline was operating in France, given that it had material and staff based permanently at Marseille and its employees lived in the area.