Pilots' lay-offs ruled illegal: FÍA wins Labour Court case against Bluebird Nordic and SA
Today, the Icelandic Labor court issued a ruling in the case of the Icelandic Airline Pilots' Association (FÍA) against the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) on behalf of Bluebird Nordic. The ruling confirmed that it was illegal of Bluebird to lay-off pilots working according to a CLA with FÍA members while hiring bogus self-employed pilots to replace them. This is an important precedent as the victory is not only important for pilots but for all unions in the country.
"The facts of the case are that a rapidly growing Icelandic airline laid off all its pilot who were union members, only weeks after having hired a comparable number of bogus self-employed contractors, ready to replace the union pilots. This was done despite the fact that the Collective Labor Agreement between the parties contained a clear provision on the priority rights of FÍA members to work for Bláfugl, which the court confirmed was still valid, just as the Court of Appeal had previously ruled," says Jón Þór Þorvaldsson, FÍA president.
"This is an important victory for unions, regulators and the government, who are all fighting against bogus self-employment."
AGM of the FÍA Pension Fund 2021
The Annual General Meeting of the FÍA Pension Fund (EFÍA) will be held on Thursday, 3 June 2021 at 13:00 at the FÍA headquarters in Hlíðasmári 8, Kópavogur.
All fund members have the right to attend the meeting, participate in discussions, and to submit proposals.
Further information about the meeting can be found here.
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.