The Hungarian airline Wizz Air has been forced to reinstate four pilots and ten cabin crew by the Romanian court system.
Wizz Air dismissed the pilots and the cabin crew, who were based in Romania, in April 2020, but the dismissals were challenged by the professional association FPU Romania and the dismissed employees.
Wizz Air stated that the pilots and cabin crew were let go due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but FPU Romania and the dismissed employees believed that the terminations were unlawful because the airline did not follow the local labor legislation.
“We are very happy with the verdict received by our members. We believe it confirms that Wizz Air has used the pandemic as an opportunity to let go experienced and thus more expensive crew and hire cheaper labor. It is time for the airline to reflect on the way they treat their employees, and we want to take this opportunity to invite all Wizz Air pilots and cabin crew to join forces and actively fight for better working conditions,” says Mircea Constantin, Head of Representation for FPU Romania.
Concerned about workers’ rights in Europe
In one of the court verdicts, from the Bucharest Tribunal, it is noted that the dismissal was not based on valid and serious reasons because the airline failed to prove that it had any major financial difficulties. Among other things, the court points out that Wizz Air hired nine new pilots for the same job roles two and a half months after the dismissals.
Wizz Air dismissed approx. 1000 of its employees in April 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic started, but continued to expand with over 15 new bases, adding at least 10 new aircraft to their fleet and created a huge recruitment campaign.
“We are very concerned about the way that big international companies ignore workers’ rights and even local law in Eastern Europe. FPU Romania will continue the fight to ensure that aviation workers are treated with respect so decent working conditions become the norm here,” says Mircea Constantin, who worked for Wizz Air as cabin crew until April 2020 and is one of the reinstated employees.
The reinstated pilots and cabin crew will now be able to return to their flying duties. The court decision could be appealed by Wizz Air.