Sepla and USO denounce Norwegian for illegal assignment of workers

A day after going through the process for recapitalization, Norwegian has
forced its Spanish workers to strip off their uniforms and credentials. Norwegian has outsourced the hiring of its staff to third-party companies in order not to bear the costs of Social Security, severance pay or
unemployment procedures.

Joint statement USO – Sepla
Madrid, May 6, 2020.

The unions representing Norwegian’s flight crew in Spain, Sepla and USO, have filed a conciliation claim with the Inter-Federal Service of Mediation and Arbitration (SIMA) – a step prior to the ordinary trial – against Norwegian by assignment illegal workers.

In this lawsuit, which is directed against both the Norwegian-based parent Norwegian Air Shuttle and its subsidiary Norwegian Air Resources (51% owner of Norwegian Air Resources Spain, employer of the 400 pilots and 900 cabin crew of Norwegian in Spain), USO and Sepla urge that the actual employer of Norwegian’s workforce in Spain be judicially determined.

Last Monday, May 4, the same day that the recapitalization of Norwegian shares was approved and their survival was assured, the company asked pilots and cabin crew to remove all credentials that accredit them as Norwegian workers. , including identification cards and even uniforms. This action, which represents a further step in Norwegian Air Shuttle’s attempt to disassociate itself from its workers in Spain, has triggered the filing of this lawsuit with SIMA. With it, the unions Sepla and USO intend that Norwegian assume the social obligations that correspond to him as the real employer of Norwegian pilots in Spain, including possible severance pay, as well as paying possible debts to Social Security.

A complex corporate conglomerate

USO and Sepla accuse Norwegian Air Shuttle of occupying the top of a complex corporate conglomerate, of which it directs the financial, operational, human resources and other services inherent to any airline. However, Norwegian Air Shuttle has deployed a network of companies to recruit its crews and inhibit its responsibilities as an employer.

Recruitment of pilots

In Spain, the recruitment of pilot crew was initially made through two commercial companies: Norwegian Air Resources Spain (NAR ES) and OSM Aviation Spain, which operated for the purposes of temporary employment agency providing pilots to the headquarters. Subsequently, OSM went on to purchase 49% of NAR ES, with the remaining 51% remaining in the hands of Norwegian Air Resources Limited, which is in turn 100% owned by Norwegian Air Shuttle.

None of the personnel recruitment companies, whether formerly OSM or currently NAR ES, are aircraft operators or carry out any type of aerial activity. Pilots, whose job is mainly to operate aircraft from one point to another, should therefore be considered workers of Norwegian Air Shuttle, which is the owner of the productive activity as well as the aircraft operator’s certificate.

Throughout the lawsuit, Sepla deploys a series of legal arguments that demonstrate that Norwegian Air Shuttle is the actual employer of Norwegian’s 400 pilots in Spain. Among other facts, Sepla aims at the use of corporatemail, pilot scheduling, incidents of paid leave or vacations, seniority or professional promotion of pilots, all of them processes assumed by Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Recruitment of cabin crew

In the case of cabin crew, represented by the USO union, after declaring the illegal assignment of Norwegian Air Shuttle and Adecco workers, Norwegian Air Shuttle established in Spain the company Norwegian Air Resources Spain(NAR ES), classified as a subsidiary in Spain, for the recruitment of cabin crew who operate routes to and from Spain of the Norwegian airline.

USO argues in the complaint that NAR ES does not comply with all the legal requirements for the activity of making workers available to a third party, only reserved in accordance with our legislation to the ETT, without their activity being considered as a legal subcontractor, constituting the provision of labor by Norwegian Air Shuttle as unlawful and constituting a clear illegal assignment of labor.

In addition, the USO union details in the text of the complaint that it is Norwegian Air Shuttle who carries out the tasks of directing, controlling and organizing the work of the staff in Spain; his recruitment, professionalpromotion and training of TCP, and who has all the materials and means to carry out the activity in Spain.

Union concern

“Since they began to threaten to close their bases in Spain, Norwegian has done everything possible to disassociate itself from its crew in Spain,” they have pointed out from the Sepla Company Council in Norwegian. We fear thattheir real intention is to exempt themselves from their social obligations to us in this delicate situation, especially the compensation that would correspond to us for dismissal or the procedures with the unemployment service. ”

We are deeply concerned and disappointed. Norwegian stopped attending the ERTE meetings that opened in April, leaving the negotiation to an external subcontractor. When we ask if Norwegian will take over severance pay, incase of an ERE, as well as Social Security payment, in case of maintaining the current force majeure ERTE or a post-alarm ERTE, the answer is they cannot be compromised. This behavior leads to thinking of a de factodismissal and with the intention of leaving a debt that the Spanish State and its taxpayers will take care of, while the parent company receives aid for 300 million euros, ”denounces the USO-Norwegian Union Section