Labour inspectors in Belgium have carried out inspections of Ryanair staff at Charleroi Airport in an investigation into possible breaches of employment law.

In a press release, the Office of the Auditeur du Travail du Hanaut confirmed the inspections were carried out last night. 

However, the Magistrate In Charge Charles-Eric Clesse said that contrary to some press articles, they had not yet revealed  "numerous breaches of Belgian social security rules". 

He said the investigations suggested that on the one hand, pilots have independent contractor status, but do not seem to have voluntarily opted for that status.

If confirmed, he said that could raise the possibility of being falsely self-employed. 

He also noted that on the other hand, since 2012 cabin crew must be declared if their home base is in the Belgian jurisdiction - but that this did not seem to be the case for all staff. 

Mr Clesse  said the priority of the Labour Inspectorate was to regularise the situation in order to preserve the rights of workers. 

He said the investigation is ongoing, and further enquiries remain to be made - adding that reports citing "heavy penalties" were premature.

Ryanair has been contacted for comment and a response is awaited.