Wizz Air forced to recognize cabin crew as flight crew in a Supreme Court decision
The Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria has ruled that the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air has to recognize cabin crew as flight crew and provide them with increased paid annual leave as such.
Wizz Air Hungary was appealing corrective actions issued by the local labor inspectorate and lower courts after findings of labor law violations in 2021. The low-cost carrier had refused to recognize flight attendants as part of the flight crew and would not grant them extra leave benefits, claiming that they only applied to pilots.
“The courts have now clarified that flight crew includes all members onboard an airplane and differentiated them from “ground crew”. In line with European regulations, pilots and cabin crew share the same duty times and rest requirements as they are subject to the same working environment”, says Martin Alexandrov, Technical Affairs Officer of FPU Romania.
The Hungarian airline will now be required to provide up to more than double the amount of paid annual leave. Flight crew in Bulgaria are entitled to additional time off to compensate for detrimental working conditions in the sky due to radiation, noise, vibrations, and pressure differences.
Wizz Air has been operating from Bulgaria since 2006 but had only begun complying with the regulations in 2019, after being challenged in court by an anonymous pilot. The following year it announced that it will no longer apply those provisions to cabin crew, leading to this case.
This decision comes at a time of an increasing number of legal cases against the low-cost carrier following the questionable dismissals in 2020 after the COVID-19 Pandemic and the subsequent leak of an audio recording exposing management culture. Currently, a group of pilots and flight attendants is challenging their contracts over questionable employment and pay practices.
“This is an important victory for our colleagues in Bulgaria. FPU Romania remains fully committed to its fight for decent working conditions in the Eastern European aviation, and will expand this case to ensure that all workers will be treated with respect and benefit of the national and European legislation provisions,” says Mircea Constantin, Head of Representation for FPU Romania.
For more information, please contact:
Mircea Constantin, Head of Representation for FPU Romania, firstname.lastname@example.org