Who is the employer of pilots and cabin crew in the airline Norwegian?

Supreme Court judgment 12 December 2018, HR-2018-2371-A, (case no. 18-042829SIV-HRET), civil case, appeal against judgment, Hans Joachim Strøm, Berndt Anders Salmonsson, Halvor Vatnar, Kim Rossing Jensen, Trude Mathisen, Anita Johannessen, Oddbjørn Ketil Holsether, René-Charles Gustavsen, Trond Erik Torgersen, Alf Wilhelm Villum Hansen, Anne Marit Breimyr Lindén (Counsel Christen Horn Johannessen), The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (intervener), The Norwegian Pilots' Union (intervener, Counsel Håkon Angell), The Confederation of Vocational Unions (intervener, Counsel Sigurd-Øyvind Kambestad) v. Norwegian Air Norway AS (Counsel Christian Backe), Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (Counsel Tarjei Thorkildsen), The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (intervener, Counsel Margrethe Meder)

Justices: Matningsdal, Noer, Bull, Ringnes, Høgetveit Berg

As a step in a substantial restructuring process, the employment of pilots and cabin crew in an airline company was transferred from the parent company, which no longer would be responsible for operational activities, to separate pilot and cabin crew companies in the group. During an interim period, the pilots had been transferred to a subsidiary carrying out parts of the operating activities. The pilots and the cabin crew did not succeed in their claim that the parent company was their employer. The pilots were also not heard in their claim that also the subsidiary in which they had been temporarily employed was their employer. The Supreme Court found that the supply of pilots and cabin crew to the parent company had to be considered contracting of crew services rather than mere hiring of labour, as the latter would have been unlawful under section 14-12, cf. section 14-9 of the Working Environment Act. It was emphasised that the company in which they were employed, conducted the day-to-day management of the activities, and that the assignment had been clearly defined in advance. Nor did they succeed with their contention that the parent company had to be regarded as an employer on special grounds alongside the company in which they were employed, see section 1-8 subsection 2 of the Working Environment Act.

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