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Last updated at 13:54 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

Easyjet accused of breaking labour laws

Summary

22 January 2010

The low-cost airline, Easyjet, will be brought before a French court accused of violating French labour laws. The company may now face a fine of up to 10 million euros.

Reporter:
Emma Jane Kirby

Easyjet aeroplane

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Easyjet has been under investigation here in France since 2006 when an inspection of their operations at Paris Orly airport showed they'd failed to register 170 employees to the French authorities.

The budget airline is accused of breaking strict labour laws and is now being pursued by the state prosecutor for millions of euros in unpaid social security and health insurance contributions. The budget airline insists that its staff were hired under British contracts and therefore were not subject to French rules. Orly airport, it claims, was merely a rest area for its workers and it was the planes themselves, and not France that served as their workplaces.

The French authorities point out however that most of the Easyjet staff lived and paid their taxes in France and many were working solely on internal flights between Paris and Nice.

Emma Jane Kirby, BBC News, Paris

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Vocabulary

budget

low-cost or cheap

pursued by the state prosecutor

followed by the official who is responsible for trying to prove in a law court that people accused of crimes are guilty

social security and health insurance contributions

money that employers pay to cover the costs of their employees' sickness or illness

hired

given jobs or employment

were not subject to

did not have to follow or obey

claims

says that something is true or is a fact, although you cannot prove it

merely

only

served as

was used as, acted as

authorities

people in power (in the government)

solely on internal flights

only on flights that go between places inside a country (here, France), rather than international flights which go between two different countries

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