Norwegian breaks the pilots’ strike in Norway by using Spain-based crews

The use of Spain-based pilots (who are hired by OSM Aviation Spain S.L and Norwergian Air Resources Spain, S.L) to break the strike in Norway, proves that Norwegian is in fact acting as a single company.

Madrid, 5th March 2015. The Spanish Airline Pilots’ Associaton (SEPLA) has filed a collective legal action before the Spanish Interconfederal Service of Mediation and Arbitration (SIMA) due to the contractual breach of the Spain-based pilots who operate Norwegian flights. SEPLA has filed this legal action against the parent company, Norwegian Air Shuttle, its Spanish subsidiary, Norwegian Air Resources Spain, S.L, and OSM Aviation Spain, S.L., a temporary employment agency for agreeing upon the boycott of the strike in Norway by using Spain-based pilots to cover the flights of the striking pilots.
This practice, apart from violating the right to strike of the Norwegian pilots, involves the contractual breach of Spain-based pilots, since Norwegian is forcefully changing their rosters and transferring them to operate flights from Scandinavian bases.

Most Spain-based pilots operating flights for Norwegian are employees of Norwegian Air Resources Spain, S.L or OSM Aviation Spain, S.L.. The main aim of these two companies is to provide Norwegian with pilots for the 6 Spanish bases. These two companies were set up at the end of 2014, forcing pilots to resign their contracts with other agencies and sign new contracts with them.

The practice of using subsidiaries or subcontractors to hire cabin attendants or pilots seems to become the general rule at Norwegian European Bases. The Scandinavian airline has expanded within Europe by using external human resources agencies or by purchasing companies and turning them into temporary employment agencies. With this complex business model, Norwegian has invaded the European market with unmatched competitive advantages based on its lower labour and social costs which allow the company to offer cheaper tickets than its competitors.

The use of third-party companies, which hold a direct contractual link with Norwegian pilots, prevents SEPLA from being recognised by the actual company the pilots work for: Norwegian Air Shuttle. This is the reason why SEPLA considers that the use of pilots hired directly by OSM aviation Spain, S. L and Norwegian Air Resources Spain, S.L to cover the flights of the striking pilots in Norway is a clear demonstration that we are dealing with a single company, Norwergian Air Shuttle, which is the true responsible company for its workers.

Despite the fact that over 80% of Norwegian pilots based in Spain are members of SEPLA, the union has not been recognised by Norwegian or any of the third-party companies. SEPLA has already filed a complaint before the Spanish Labour Inspection agains OSM Aviation Spain, S.L for violating the Spanish Social Security Legislation.