No rest for Ryanair over crew bedding down on floor

| BLOOMBERG / The Standard 22 Oct 2018

Ryanair Holdings Plc's year-long dispute with unions has taken a bizarre turn, with the release of CCTV footage the discount carrier says it shows cabin crew staging a photo of them being forced to sleep on the floor at Spain's Malaga airport.

The original shot, posted Sunday, October 14, on a Facebook page critical of Ryanair, appeared to depict staff bedded down at the terminal after being stranded by storms, and was accompanied by the suggestion that the company had "left them there."

Ryanair initially apologized, saying hotel rooms had not been available, before posting the video on October 17 and claiming that the initial image was a "fake photo."

The Independent in London reports that a Ryanair spokesperson said in a statement: "This picture is clearly staged and no crew 'slept on the floor.' Due to storms in Porto a number of flights diverted to Malaga and as this was a Spanish national holiday, hotels were fully booked.

"The crew spent a short period of time in the crew room before being moved to a VIP lounge, and returned to Porto the next day [none of the crew operated flights]."

Still, the 24 crew members were not provided with food or drink by the airline and were forced to share eight chairs to try to get some sleep, claimed Portuguese union official Fernando Gandra, a former Ryanair cabin crew member himself.

"I'm not going to comment on whether it was staged or not," hetold theIrish Times. "Only the people who were there can make that statement.

"The only place they had available was the floor The point is that Ryanair did not give their crews any place to rest."

The SNPVAC union, which represents the Portuguese crew, said the picture was an accurate illustration of what had happened, with 24 people left overnight without food, drink or "even a place to sit down."

The incident comes amid an increasingly fractious clash between Ryanair and staff demanding sweetened contracts after a rostering foul-up forced the Dublin-based company to accept unionization. Europe's biggest budget airline has been rocked by strikes over the summer, as chief executive Michael O'Leary seeks to minimize the impact on costs.

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