Wizz Air Hungary has informed its Romanian-based employees that the company’s operations and employment would be transferred from Wizz Air Hungary to the newly established airline subsidiary Wizz Air Malta.
The ULCC airline justifies this move to having a more stable and diverse market presence, but also to reduce the size of the fleet and network to be overseen by one national authority. Wizz Air Malta and Wizz Air Hungary will both be operating under the oversight of the same competent authority (EASA).
As part of the reorganization, the whole business, including the rights and obligations stemming from the individual employment agreements of the flight personnel assigned to and serving Wizz Air’s operations in Romania, will be transferred to Malta by April 1.
This is not the first time that the air carrier Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Romania and Central and Eastern Europe, has reorganized its economic operations in our country. Wizz Air opened its first operational base in Romania in 2007, operating through Wizz Air Romania Srl, a local company that was dissolved and liquidated in 2010, by the decision of the sole shareholder, Wizz Air Holdings Plc. Employees were required to resign from the local firm and sign a new employment contract with the new Wizz Air Hungary branch in Bucharest during the company’s transfer.
According to data from the Ministry of Finance at the time, Wizz Air Romania ended 2010 with a loss of 26,731 lei on a turnover of 4,046,557 lei, reports Bizlawyer. The airline continued to expand its operations in the following years, triggering another article in 2015 which was called “The paradox of Wizzair in Romania: 300 employees, losses of 27 million lei, but zero turnovers. The low-cost airline carried 3.9 million passengers in 2014, more than Tarom”, written by the Romanian ZF.
The airline operator was already listed on the London Stock Exchange at the time, with a market capitalization of 1.18 billion euros. However, Wizz Air was now dealing with a major dispute originating from the airline’s disrespect for employees’ ability to organize into trade unions. FPU Romania’s litigation was critical in getting the Hungarian carrier to meet with 14 investors to explain their anti-union behavior.
FPU Romania has been monitoring the labor relations between Wizz Air and its employees in Romania at all times, representing its members in front of the employer, authorities, and labor courts. A collective dispute between Wizz Air Hungary Ltd. and the trade union is currently pending before the Bucharest Tribunal regarding salary entitlements during annual leave.
Read more Salary entitlements during annual leave
In relation to the ongoing transfer to Malta, we have advised Wizz Air that, according to Art. 13 of Law 67/2006 and Article 174 of the Labour Code, procedures for information and consultation with trade unions must be in place. Failure to comply with this obligation constitutes a violation that could result in a fine imposed by labor inspectors but may also force FPU Romania to file a complaint with the competent court.
“Our members are obviously concerned by this sudden transition and have requested consultations with the company through the trade union to determine the true purpose of this Maltese expansion. We advise Wizz Air to make the correct decision and fulfill their legal obligations,” said Mircea Constantin, FPU Romania’s Head of Representation.