Low-fare carrier Ryanair said it welcomes a decision by Norway’s Supreme Court’s appeals commission late last week that returned a case involving a disgruntled Ryanair worker to the Norwegian Appeals Court. The high court ordered a rehearing on the grounds the appeals court erred in ruling itself that the case could be heard in a Norwegian court.
The case involves former Ryanair flight attendant Alessandra Cocca, who has sued Ryanair over her dismissal and working conditions. Ryanair has argued all along that the case must be heard in Ireland, where Ryanair is based, and because Cocca worked on board Ryanair aircraft, which are registered in Ireland.
The high court’s appeals commission found that in its overall evaluation of the case, the appeals court noted that Cocca worked at the check-in counter at the Rygge airport south of Moss, which Ryanair uses. The court called that “factually incorrect” and further referred to an international convention that would view Irish aircraft as Irish territory.
Moreover, the appeals commission decided that because the nature of the error was “so clear,” the entire decision by the appeals court should be overturned.
Ryanair was predictably delighted by the Supreme Court action, which came after Ryanair had appealed the now-rejected appeals court ruling. Ryanair issued a statement late Friday that it now looked forward “to a successful conclusion of this case when reheard by the Norwegian Court of Appeal.”
The case has attracted widespread media coverage in Norway, because Cocca accused Ryanair of engaging in “slave labour contracts” and harshly criticized and publicized the condition Ryanair crew work under. Pay levels are far below those in Norway, even though some crews are based in Norway, and benefits are minimal. Norwegian labour organizers have protested loudly on behalf of the Ryanair workers and have backed Cocca’s lawsuit.
Now they’ll all meet in court again. Ryanair, meanwhile, has been been on what Norwegians call a “charm offensive,” recently announcing everything from higher carry-on allowances to lower boarding pass fees. Long bashed for poor treatment of its passengers as well as its employees, Ryanair claims it’s improving its customer service and wants to “improve our passenger experience” as well.