The FPU has sent a notice of dispute to Primera Air Nordic. The company flies out of Copenhagen Airport without a general agreement, with cabin crew employed under precarious terms of employment.
Primera Air Nordics is a Latvian associated company of Danish Primera Air Scandinavia. FPU has an agreement with Primera Air Scandinavia, but via Primera Air Nordic there is a set-up through which Primera Air Nordics employees fly out of Denmark on terms far lower than on the Danish agreement:
Primera Air Nordic hires cabin crew from Eastern Europe – primarily Romania – they are recruited through recruitment agencies on Guernsey (Flight Crew Solution) and Malta (ASTA).
The employees of Primera Air Nordic are located in Malmo, Sweden, and they are being picked up in the morning by a taxi at various pick-up points in Malmo and Lund. In practice, Malmo is appointed as the cabin crew’s home base. But actually, it is Copenhagen Airport. The setup with transport from Malmo/Lund to Copenhagen Airport is so firmly incorporated that it appears in the staff’s schedules. The employees make use of the Primera Air Scandinavia’s facilities in Copenhagen Airport, just as they appear in the Primera Air Scandinavia uniform.
The work is done on what is best described as precarious working conditions: Employees do not receive money for their pensions, they have a limited access to pay during illness, they do not have paid vacation and they receive monthly wages, equal to less than half of the starting wage for a Danish cabin crew on the general agreement.
»It’s some of the worst we have seen. Both regarding the terms, but also the creativity itself in the construction. What Primera Air Nordic does affects both the young Romanians, as well as the Danish-based employees who fear to be replaced by cheap labour,« says Anders Mark Jensen, Vice President at the Flight Personnel Union.
FPU has for some time been trying to obtain an agreement with Primera Air Nordic. Unfortunately, this has not been successful, and Primera Air Nordic has not wanted to enter into a dialogue or negotiation about the terms. Therefore, the FPU has now sent a notice of dispute to the company for them to enter into an agreement.
»As always, we just want to negotiate. We hope that Primera Air Nordic will realize that unfair competition and social dumping are not the way forward,« says Anders Mark Jensen.
What happens next?
A notice of dispute has been sent to Primera Air Nordic. In the same breath, the FPU submitted the case to the Danish Labour Court. Thus, the Labour Court (as in the Ryanair case of 2015) must assess the legality of a potential dispute.
»We are dealing with a totally creative set-up. But, in our conviction, we are clearly talking about work done from a Danish base which should be governed by a Danish collective agreement. However, as in the Ryanair case, we have chosen to ask the Danish Labour Court for permission before we begin a dispute,« says Jan Gloggengieser Gam, lawyer for the FPU.
So fare, there has not been set a date for the first and preliminary hearing.