After a 7-week’ long, expensive defamation case before the Irish High Court, a verdict in favor of Capt Evert van Zwol, John Goss and Ted Murphy, brings much-needed relief to them, their families and the pilot community.
They have successfully demonstrated during the process, that the leaders of the Ryanair Pilot Group never had the intention to damage Ryanair. Their focus was on empowering Ryanair pilots to organise themselves so they could deal directly and collectively with the management.
“Another effort to silence and discredit pilot leaders has failed,” says ECA President Dirk Polloczek.
“It is very sad how Ryanair has decided to target individual pilots in its determination to fight unions. Such litigation undoubtedly has a ‘chilling’ effect on anyone wishing to speak up. We hope that this is the last time Ryanair takes pilots to Court.”
The verdict comes at a time when Ryanair has conceded to recognize unions and engage in collective bargaining with its pilots. This change of attitude came after hundreds of Ryanair pilots joined unions across Europe and formed Company Councils in the aftermath of the major cancellation crisis of September 2017 – and under the threat of imminent Europe-wide industrial action.
“Ryanair management admits now that mistakes had been made in the past”, says Philip von Schöppenthau, ECA Secretary General.
“I believe this defamation lawsuit has been one of those mistakes. It is now time for Ryanair to build a trusting relationship with its pilots. Such a relationship can only exist without the permanent threat of litigation hanging over the heads of pilot representatives. Any ongoing cases or legal proceedings against pilot leaders, organizations or whistleblowers must be stopped immediately.”