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Court win a welcome step closer to the end of bogus self-employment in aviation

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) says it’s delighted with a court win for one of its members that will likely have wider implications in the industry in terms of the employment status and rights of so called ‘self-employed’ pilots and agency workers.

BALPA has funded Jason Lutz’s Employment tribunal and supported him throughout his claim against MCG Aviation Limited and Ryanair relating to his status as a worker of MCG and agency worker supplied to Ryanair. The Tribunal found that Jason was a ‘crew member’ and a ‘worker’ of MCG aviation Limited, as well as an ‘agency worker’ supplied by MCG to work temporarily for Ryanair as the hirer. Workers are entitled to paid annual leave amongst other rights, and agency workers are entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as directly employed pilots.

Click here for full judgement.

The judgment emphasised “the far greater significance than Mr Lutz’s personal claim, as there are many pilots in precisely the same position as Mr Lutz.”

Martin Chalk, BALPA General Secretary said:

“This is a landmark moment and is not only good news for Jason Lutz, but also for all the similarly “self-employed” pilots in the aviation sector. Given the strength of the findings on all counts of the claim, we urge Ryanair and MCG Aviation Ltd to take note of the findings and to focus on working with BALPA to set out clearer, more secure forms of employment, rather than taking this case to further appeals.”

BALPA was represented by David Hunt, Alice Yandle, and Caitlin Farrer of Farrer & Co, and Michael Ford QC and Stuart Brittenden of Old Square Chambers.

Farrer & Co and Old Square comment that: “This ruling has immense implications for the use of the pilot contractor model in the aviation sector, and leaves the way open for other potential claims by pilots engaged under similar arrangements.”

Notes to EDITORS:
Notes from the legal team:
Click here for a legal summary from the legal team.