The Irish budget airline Ryanair is forcing its staff based in Vilnius and Kaunas to take unpaid leave, a letter seen by LRT suggests. The company has recently scaled down its operations in Lithuania due to the pandemic.
In a February 24 letter which appears to be sent by Ryanair management to the cabin crew staff, the company says that due to reduced flying schedules “there will be a requirement” for workers to take periods of unpaid leave in April and May. A form requesting 10 days of unpaid leave to be signed by the workers was attached to the letter.
The measures are necessary to mitigate the effects of reduced flying schedules and “ensure the continuity of our business”, according to the letter.
“We recognise the impact that these mitigations will have on individual crew members, however we believe that it is by working together as a team that we will ensure the business emerges from this unprecedented crisis,” the letter says.
Back in January, Ryanair announced it was temporarily cutting down on its flights from Lithuanian airports, leaving only the service between Kaunas and Dublin.
LRT.lt has approached Ryanair for comment, but has not received it at the time of publication.
Lithuania's State Labour Inspectorate says that workers cannot be forced into unpaid leave.
“Without an employee's own request [...] to take unpaid leave, the employer cannot do it,” said Šarūnas Orlavičius, the head of the Labour Law Department at the State Labour Inspectorate.
If employees are forced into unpaid leave, they can take the case to the Labour Dispute Commission, he added.