Saturday 25 November 2017

'Work in alternative location at your own cost during quiet period, or opt for unpaid leave' - Ryanair letter to cabin crew

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary. Photo: Frank McGrath
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary. Photo: Frank McGrath
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair has given some staff in the UK the option of work in an alternative location, where they have to pay their own accommodation, or unpaid leave.

The airline has written to cabin crew based at East Midlands in the UK, informing them that because the number of the company’s aircraft at the airport will be reduced this winter, the staff may seek a "temporary secondment" to a base where capacity will increase over the winter, such as Berlin, Cologne and Eindhoven.

But they’ve been warned that if they don’t accept the secondment from their current base, then the company will be left with "no alternative" except to "allocate you unpaid leave".

"Please note that you will not be entitled to receive statutory pay for this period of unpaid leave in circumstances where you have declined alternative work," a letter to cabin crew states.

Any cabin crew who accept the secondment will have to pay their own accommodation and daily costs at their new base. The secondments will last about two months.

Meanwhile, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has apologised to staff for the flights fiasco that erupted this week.

"I want to apologise to you, our front-line teams, to our pilots, to our cabin crew, to our check-in people and to our customer services staff"  he said in a statement on Ryanair’s own internal media channel.

His apology comes as pilots continue to demand improved working conditions. It’s also understood that pilots at some Spanish bases have already begun a work-to-rule pattern.

Mr O’Leary said staff had been working "particularly hard" over the past five days to re-accommodate passengers and provide assistance and refunds.

"I’m sorry we visited this on you," he said. "We are working hard here to try and fix the rostering failure, and more importantly to make sure it doesn’t happen again."

He added: "To our pilots, thank you for those of you who have been coming in on your days off.  We didn’t understand our rostering numbers were low, and we certainly have mismanaged the allocation of blocks of four weeks’ leave to pilots in September and October in particular."

He said management were assured during the summer that it had enough pilots.

"It’s clear that we didn’t have; we don’t have enough to be able to allocate leave to everybody during these couple of months."

He said the company will be writing to pilots in coming days to work one of their four weeks off.

"We are recruiting more pilots. We had over 100 pilots awaiting base training. We will have cleared that backlog of about 125 pilots by Monday or Tuesday or next week.

"I want to say personally, to each and every one of you who work in Ryanair, I’m sorry for the mess that we have created over the past week over the rosters," added Mr O’Leary.

He said that the company is engaging in discussions with pilots and will meet pilots at bases in cities such as Dublin, Berlin and London.

He added that management would meet with pilot committees at bases "in coming weeks".

He conceded that the reputation of the airline had been damaged.

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