After the recent court rulings and the decision of the Romanian National Council for Combating Discrimination, the cabin crew union Sindicatul Aerolimit Professional (SAP) scored another important victory in their fight for workers’ rights: on 16 July 2015, the court has ordered the reinstatement of the cabin crew members dismissed by Wizz Air in the aftermath of setting up a trade union.
The court has considered the termination of employment contracts of all dismissed workers in this case to be unlawful and ordered Wizz Air to reinstate them into their former positions. Furthermore, the company is obliged to repay the workers their salaries from the date of dismissal until the reinstatement. Each plaintiff is also entitled to a compensation of approx. 1,130 EUR.
On 19 March 2015, the court has ruled that Mircea Constantin, president of SAP, has been unlawfully dismissed and ordered the company to reinstate him. Wizz Air has chosen not to respect the court decision and refused to put him into active duty with the pretext of safety investigation of the competent national aviation authority. This argument has been later dismissed by the authority itself. On 12 May 2015, the court has decided that the submission aiming at dissolution of the trade union is unlawful and SAP is entitled to represent cabin crew members at Wizz Air. On 3 July 2015, the National council for combatting Discrimination found Wizz Air guilty for dismissing 19 staff members due to their union affiliation and stated that the termination of the labour contracts was discriminatory and had the intention to stop the union movement. This series of decisions has now been continued by the latest ruling forcing Wizz Air to reinstate the remaining cabin crew members.
Mircea Constantin, president of SAP, commented: “After eight months of fight for justice, we have finally achieved a full victory. Both the Ilfov court and the Romanian National Council for Combating Discrimination have indicated to Wizz Air that union busting is unacceptable.“
François Ballestero, ETF Civil Aviation Political Secretary, added: “This important court ruling shows that labour law and fundamental rights have to be respected. Airline companies must realize that circumvention of legislation and workers’ rights cannot be part of their business model. It is high time for all of them to recognize trade unions and engage in meaningful social dialogue.“
As a European representative of the aviation workers, the ETF has been supporting this fight from the very beginning. In December 2014, in collaboration with LabourStart, the ETF and ETUC launched an online campaign in support of the Wizz Air workers and union leadership. This campaign gathered nearly 10,000 signatures. All the important EU decision-makers were informed about the roots of this conflict, as well as about the outcome.