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Unions will sue Norwegian before the Spanish High Court

Today’s mediation at SIMA between representatives of Norwegian and the unions of Cabin Crews and pilots, USO and Sepla, ends without agreement. The unions will file a lawsuit for illegal transfer of workers before the Spanish High Court in the coming days.

May 20th. 2020

Norwegian will be sued before the Spanish High Court for illegal transfer of workers. The mediation meeting that took place this morning at SIMA (Servicio Interconfederal de Mediación y Arbitraje) between representatives of the Norwegian airline and the unions of Cabin Crews, USO and pilots, Sepla, ended without agreement. Norwegian still does not recognize that these workers, who have been forced these weeks to remove their uniforms and credentials from Norwegian, are its employees.

USO and Sepla filed a lawsuit against Norwegian Air Shuttle and its subsidiary Norwegian Air Resources for illegal transfer of workers with the aim of finding out who is the real employer of the 400 pilots and 900 cabin crew working for the Norwegian company in Spain. Both pilots and flight attendants work for the parent company Norwegian Air Shuttle, and it is with this company that they have negotiated their working conditions. However, they have been recruited through the Spanish subsidiary of Norwegian Air Resources, whose activity is limited to providing the parent company with flight personnel. This is a complex corporate arrangement which Norwegian now intends to use to exonerate itself from its responsibilities as an employer and thus avoid the cost of possible redundancy compensations, and the payment of possible social security debts.

Just days after the recapitalization of its debt, Norwegian publicly announced that it will suspend its operations in Spain for at least one year. Nor has it been able to put forward a proposal to its workers’ representatives, who do not yet know whether a collective redundancy process will be initiated or, if so, with whom they should negotiate.

“What worries us about the illegal transfer of workers is that it makes us think that Norwegian will go bankrupt in Spain, leaving us the only resource of FOGASA, which is paid for by the taxes of all taxpayers in Spain”, stated the USO union, representative of the Cabin Crews of the company.

“The only thing we know about the company is that it has cut off all access to the intranet and has requested our uniforms and company identification, although we have no evidence that it has begun any process of dismissal as could be an ERE” have regretted representatives from the SEPLA Norwegian Company Council.

Since the company started threatening to close its operations in Spain, Norwegian has not made clear what its plan for the future is for our country. Initially, the company denied its unions when they denounced the company’s intention to close the Spanish bases. A few days later, they announced that they would cease operations for one year. Now, while affirming that Spain is the second most profitable European market, the company does not know if it will opt for the slots necessary to operate from Spanish airports, a question that was asked today in the mediation of SIMA: “The company has been doing a lot of wandering. Our uncertainty is absolute” complained the unions.

Both Sepla and USO are confident that Justice will rule that Norwegian Air Shuttle is the real company of the workers, and therefore it must be the company that takes responsibility for its obligations as an employer.