Ryanair faces a string of charges in France for alleged breach of labour laws in a case due to come to court at the turn of the year.

The charges relate to Ryanair’s former base at Marseille and follow a three-year investigation.

French news agency AFP reports state prosecutors have charged the carrier with illegal practices including registering workers employed in France as Irish employees, preventing the functioning of workplace councils and preventing staff access to unions.

The case will be heard in Aix-en-Provence, close to Marseille where Ryanair had a base until January last year.

Ryanair began flying from Marseille in 2006, but closed its hub at the airport and cut 13 routes when prosecutors refused to drop charges against the company.

The airline argued its employees at Marseille were not living permanently in France and were therefore registered as employed in Ireland, paid wages at the Irish level and taxed at rates in Ireland.

The prosecution will argue French law applies to staff based in France who start and finish their working day in the country, that Ryanair’s extensive work premises included meeting and rest rooms and that almost 100 employees had lockers at the airport.

Ryanair has said it based four aircraft and employed 200 staff at Marseille.

The carrier continues to fly to and from Marseille, but no longer bases aircraft at the airport.