Sleeping rough? Ryanair cabin crew sacked for staging photo

The budget airline is in the headlines, this time for sacking staff after alleged gross misconduct that ‘damaged the employer’s reputation’.

The group sacking took place on Monday 5th November after a photo of a group of eight pilots and sixteen cabin crew sleeping on an airport floor went viral last month. The image was “staged” by six crew members in protest at their treatment at Malaga Airport on the Costa del Sol in the early hours of October 14th.

Twenty-eight Ryanair employees spent the night in the crew room at the airport as the airline claimed that all hotels in the Malaga region were booked.

The group, all based in Portugal, said they were forced to spend several hours in a room after landing at Malaga airport just after midnight following diversions caused by Hurricane Leslie.

A Ryanair spokesman confirmed the sackings, claiming that,

All six cabin crew members in Porto were dismissed on Monday 5 Nov for breach of contract on grounds of gross misconduct, after staging a fake photograph to support a false claim (widely reported in international media outlets) that they were ‘forced to sleep on the floor’ of the Malaga crew room, which was behaviour which damaged their employer’s reputation and caused an irreparable breach of trust with these six persons

Luciana Passo, head of the SNPVAC cabin crew union in Portugal, said the union’s legal team were now dealing with the matter.

Ryanair thinks it was harmed by the publication of that photograph when it was no more than a show of the crew members’ justified feeling of indignation

Sue Andrews, HR Director at KIS Finance comments:

“Ryan Air’s reputation on how they treat their staff has been the subject of frequent criticism. The latest episode involving the sacking of 6 staff members for posting a “staged” photo of being forced to sleep on an airport floor certainly won’t have helped.

However, staff taking to social media to publicise a grievance is an increasing problem for employers.  Stories become sensationalised and the genuine facts of a situation are often lost, whilst company reputations can be irrevocably damaged.  Making sure you have a clear policy on social media usage is therefore essential to ensure that staff understand that deliberate acts to undermine the company’s reputation could result in their dismissal”







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