“Norwegian has a thug attitude right now”. Since the announcement of the end of its long-haul activity, leading to the closure of its French branch, the 286 employees concerned accuse the Norwegian company of trying to escape its responsibilities.
“We are in absolute ignorance of what they want to do with us”. The observation is made by Yan Crosson, SNPL union representative (pilots) and secretary of the Social and Economic Committee (CSE). “They cut off our access to internal messaging. They’ve completely logged us out. For them, we no longer exist ”, adds Jordan Passelecq, union representative of the SNPL. The employees received their January wages about ten days late but at the end of this month, “we still don’t know whether or not we will be paid”, worries Jordan Passelecq.
On January 14, the low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle announced to end its long-haul activity and close its French branch, which includes 145 pilots, 136 cabin crew and five employees. administrative. Staff representatives have since had no contact with the Oslo-based parent company. Because Norwegian France is in fact held by a subsidiary based in Ireland, Norwegian Air Resources Limited, which has been placed in liquidation.
Norwegian France employees are therefore invited to turn to the appointed liquidators in Ireland to discuss their departure conditions. “The KPMG liquidators have told us that the law does not allow them to go back to the source,” so in Oslo, said Jordan Passelecq. To authorize the liquidation, “it is necessary that the insolvency, the cessation of payments (of the company) is clearly established and demonstrated”, explained the lawyer of the CSE, Me Fyodor Rilov.
“To date, there is a gigantic vagueness around this alleged insolvency”, he added, specifying that “the immense majority of the responses that the employees s expected were not given ”. “We have the feeling that the group is planning this judicial liquidation for reasons of comfort, says Fyodor Rilov, to possibly get rid of the employees working in France, by making bear the cost to wage guarantee insurance ”, therefore to the French taxpayer.
On Monday, a Dublin court is due to issue its decision on whether or not to confirm the liquidation. In France, Norwegian employees launched a procedure to block it, believing that the CSE had not been properly informed of the accounting elements making it possible to recognize the insolvency of the company.
According to various union sources, a liquidation procedure in the rules would cost between 20 and 25 million euros for Norwegian. “They owe a lot of money to the crew members”, especially the days of leave not taken, assures Alexandra Lafargue, Unac union representative (hostesses and stewarts ). “It’s between 8,000 and 13,000 euros to be recovered per person, just in off days,” she says. The SNPL ensures for its part that the calculation of partial unemployment, implemented in the company since March due to the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, has lost 47% of income when they are supposed to receive 84% of their take-home pay. Norwegian “owes us a check in arrears of around five million euros”, explains Yan Crosson.
Contacted by AFP, the airline refused to speak through its lawyer. In the meantime, all this “causes a situation of social and psychological distress among the employees”, notes Jordan Pesselecq. On Wednesday, they are called to demonstrate in front of the Norwegian embassy in Paris and have requested an interview with the Norwegian ambassador.
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