The German trade union Verdi has sharply criticized the announced closure of Malta Air's Ryanair base in Frankfurt am Main. The employee representatives even allege the alleged abuse of short-time work.
For several years now, all German bases of the Irish low-cost airline have been operated by the subsidiary Malta Air. Externally, aircraft in the design of Ryanair are used almost exclusively. Only an "operated by" sticker next to the front door and a logo on the attached safety card are obvious indications of this for passengers.
Ryanair recently announced that the base in Frankfurt am Main will be closed on March 31, 2022. According to Verdi, 250 Malta Air employees stationed in Germany are affected. "We are experiencing insecurity and indifference towards the individual fates of the employees and mismanagement on an unprecedented scale," explains Dennis Dacke, responsible trade union secretary at Verdi.
Malta Air offers those affected that they can switch to other stations within Europe if possible. Verdi accuses that in this context new employment contracts with "hidden clauses" should be concluded. "Within a few weeks, the employees should decide whether to pack up and where to go and start their new lives, often with families," says Dacke. If the employees do not give in to this pressure, they could ultimately be dismissed for operational reasons: "This is exactly what leads to the fact that the often transnational employees are forced into very disadvantageous individual employment contracts".
Verdi criticizes particularly sharply that the Frankfurt Malta Air employees would be under pressure due to a lack of alternatives on the German job market. "There is no alternative for them, since they have hardly any chances on the German job market after being laid off for operational reasons and the regulated severance payments would also be used up quickly. Exemplary for the new contracts are clauses that would waive all claims, including those arising from the social plan.
The employee representatives also criticize the fact that in January 2022 many Malta Air employees found short-time work in their rosters. According to Verdi, there is no legal basis for this: "The collective agreement with us on short-time work has expired and has not been extended," says Dacke, who suggests that instead of the salaries according to the collective agreement, "unjustified spa workers' allowance" could be paid. He refers to numerous cases that have occurred in other sectors.