A French court has fined Ryanair more than 8 million euros (£6.7m) for failing to pay social insurance and state pension contributions in France for Ryanair crews flying to/from Marseille from 2007 to 2010.
The court in Aix En Province ruled that the low cost carrier had broken local labour rules when it employed over 120 staff on Irish contracts at its former Marseille operating hub.
Ryanair argued that these people were employed on Irish contracts, operating on Irish registered aircraft (defined as Irish territory) and have already paid their taxes, social taxes and state pension contributions in Ireland, in full compliance with Irish and EU regulations.
Ryanair believes there is a clear contradiction between current EU employment regulations under which these Irish workers paid their taxes and social taxes in Ireland, and the 2006 French decree, which seeks to require airline crews operating in Ireland to pay social taxes and pension contributions in France, despite the fact that they have already paid them in Ireland.
The low cost carrier, which has confirmed that it will appeal this afternoon’s ruling, believes this contradiction can ultimately only be resolved by the European Courts upholding EU regulations on the employment of mobile transport workers.
Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “Ryanair will study today’s ruling in detail, and will be lodging an early appeal. Since all of our people operating to/from Marseille between 2007 and 2010 have already paid their social taxes and pension contributions in Ireland, in full compliance with Irish and EU employment regulations, we do not believe that either Ryanair or our people can be forced to double pay these contributions a second time in France.
“In the meantime, Ryanair and its people will continue to comply fully with Irish and EU employment law, income taxes and social tax obligations.” Kiely added.
Should Ryanair be forced to pay these social taxes and pension contributions in France, then the vast majority of these contributions will be reclaimable from the Irish Government, according to the carrier.