A couple of days ago, a photo leaked of a group of Ryanair cabin crew allegedly being forced to sleep on the floor of a crew room at the airline’s base in Malaga, Spain. A number of Ryanair flights had been forced to divert to the airport after Autumn storms brought strong winds, resulting in dozens of flights being grounded.
The airline said it had been impossible to accommodate the stranded crew in hotels as a Spanish national holiday meant rooms were fully booked across the region (a claim that a number of analysts have debunked with evidence of ample hotel accommodation being available on the night of the incident).
Instead, Ryanair said the crew spent a short time in the crew room which features in the now viral photo before they were moved to a “VIP lounge” where they were able to sleep on comfortable seats. The following day, the crew were deadheaded back to their respective bases and weren’t made to work, according to a company spokesperson.
The airline also hit back at the authenticity of the photo, calling it “clearly staged” – clearly in fighting mood, Ryanair today decided to back up that claim by releasing video footage from what appears to be a surveillance camera placed in the crew room.
On it’s official Twitter account, Ryanair said it was exposing the “fake photo of cabin crew sleeping in crew room” with a 1.45-minute segment of the time the crew spent in the room. The video can be viewed below…
Ryanair exposes fake photo of cabin crew sleeping in crew room. Watch video here: pic.twitter.com/tzTn6EHsKH
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) October 17, 2018
But if Ryanair was attempting to turn the tables on the crew, it looks like their efforts have spectacularly backfired. Twitter user, Jim Kips (@jim_kips) pointed out that if suitable accommodation had been provided in the first place, the crew wouldn’t have felt the need to stage the photo. The user finishes the Tweet, calling Ryanair “horrendous excuse for human beings.”
Other users have mentioned a new European law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which means companies have to obtain the permission of people before releasing material that could be used to identify them – they question whether that’s the case in this situation and call for an investigation from data protection regulators.
So your idea of “suitable accommodation” for your hard working crew is to switch off the lights in the corner of a crew room and let them sleep on plastic chairs? You absolute horrendous excuse for human beings !!
— Jim kips (@jim_kips) October 17, 2018
“Identifiable imagery is considered as personal data under the GDPR and therefore, at a data protection level, requires the same level of thought and care that is being paid to other affected areas of the business.”. I can identify individuals from this.
— Adam Mark Smith ?️ (@AdamTheRedBaron) October 17, 2018
If you would have provided hotel accommodation to crew. They wouldn’t have todo such things. Shame on you once more, Ryanair. 🙁
— Steve lemmens (@stevetje) October 17, 2018
Thanks for the video @Ryanair @Ryanair_ES it will be used to demonstrate that crew were left in crew room seated on some chairs the whole night against FTL. @instrabajoyss This video also shows how the airline use confidential video of its workers abandoned in an office
— USO SECTOR AEREO (@AereoUso) October 17, 2018
— Chris (@Blafsen) October 17, 2018
Everyone already KNEW it was a protest picture you knuckleheads! The fact remains: you stranded FOUR CREWS in an airport terminal for the night and made no discernible attempt to find them proper lodging or even food and water!
— Jim Atkinson (@Jimbaba) October 17, 2018
fake photo or not, you left them without a place to stay and it deserves media exposure. You should work on improving your internal processes if this situation is not a single occasion instead of wasting time to post surveillance footage on twitter.
— Kirie-chan in ?? (@robben132) October 17, 2018
This latest incident is likely to yet again inflame the fraught relationship between the airline and its cabin crew who are currently fighting for better working conditions. Ryanair recently issued a profits warning, claiming a number of strikes by cabin crew and pilots were partly behind the reason for what may be a near 12% dip in anticipated profits.
Unions which represent Ryanair cabin crew are demanding a dramatic shift in corporate culture and have called on the airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary to step down – Saying his presence is not helping heal the relationship with staff.
What do you think? Can the cabin crew be excused for staging the photo in order to gain media attention about what happened? Or should they face disciplinary action? Sound off in the comments below…