10. may 2021

Appeal Court confirms legitimacy of FÍA actions

The strike actions of the Icelandic Airline Pilots' Association (FÍA) against Bluebird Nordic, which began in February 2021, were ruled legitimate by the Landsréttur Appeal Court last Friday. Originally, Bluebird had requested a ban on the strike actions from the District Commissioner, and when this was denied they appealed to the District Court. When the Court confirmed the Commissioners ruling, the case was appealed to the Landsréttur, only to have it yet again confirmed that the strike actions were legal.

The ruling of the Appeal Court reaffirmed once again one of the main principles in Icelandic labor law that when a wage agreement expires or is terminated, the rights and obligations of the parties continue in accordance with an earlier agreement while there is still no agreement, and no strike has taken place. Therefore, the priority right provisions for FÍA members were still valid when Bluebird Nordic hired 10 pilots as bogus self-employed contractors in November and fired the corresponding number of FÍA pilots in the following month.

The Appeal Court also confirmed that a legal strike, announced by a trade union, binds all workers in the profession in question, as well as those outside the trade union. In other words, the pilots who flew for Bluebird during the strike were strike-breakers and the FIA's actions to defend the strike were perfectly legal.

Landsréttur also held that Bluebird Nordic had to bear the brunt of not disclosing the terms and conditions of employment of the pilots it to be "self-employed contractors". This once again provides clear evidence that Bluebird is carrying out pseudo-contracting that they are trying to keep out of the light of day.

As specified earlier, Landsréttur upheld the ruling of the district commissioner and later the district court and furthermore requires Bluebird Nordic also to pay FÍA ISK 440,000 in appeal costs.

It should also be noted that the main proceedings in the Labour Court case, concerning the legality of the FÍA pilots’ dismissals, took place in April and a ruling is expected shortly.