24 May 2013


Many bloggers and websites in Europe deal with Aviation stories with Low Cost being very popular.
One blogger is  very keen of treatment of Pilot and Cabin Crew in the Low Cost sector and has a very large following. Airobserver Blogger   http://airobserver.wordpress.com/ is one blogger not afraid of Michael O'Leary's libel threats and works very hard in running Low Cost stories which the main stream media fail to write.
As you can see from the excellent post below,one more Ryanair scandal not to be missed.

The Sophie Growcoot’s affair: just another scandal or the one too many for Ryanair?




With overdramatic surprise, the U.K. seems to have (re)discovered Ryanair’s infamous working conditions. Will the well-worn subject still remain unheeded? Maybe this time, it won’t. For tiny little events seem to converge towards legal and political actions.

Social claims at Ryanair: is 2013 a turn?
However distressful and terrible Sophie Growcoot’s situation is, it barely teaches us anything new. For years now, press releases have feasted upon the cases of poor working conditions without calling public authorities to action. Yet, the fact that Sophie Growcoot, a U.K. citizen, decided to call upon her M.P. jeopardizes Ryanair’s position near its home base.
It may seem surprising to most but there haven’t been as many lawsuits and political affairs regarding Ryanair’s working conditions as one may think. More often than not, the cabin crew “refused” to speak and most media would simply stick to denouncing the ill-treatment reserved to the personnel. However, tables have started turning when growing contests outburst all over Europe, starting with four unknown pilots testifying against the safety measures of the company, the tiredness generated by their crazy working schedules and the dangers of the “in the air” hourly policy. Later on, the Ryanair Pilot Group, which has grown to be a serious thorn in the foot of the budget airline, began blowing the whistle on the working conditions.
And this defiance isn’t limited to anonymous or non-identified people, despite the Irish airline’s claims that the RPG isn’t representative. Operational experts (i.e. David Learmont, from Flight Global) or Ryanair’s longest-serving pilot Captain John Goss have also raised public concerns over safety or working conditions last month.

And yet, all of this wasn’t as symbolic as Sophie Growcoot’s case. She’s the first attendant to publicly stand up against the company, with the support of a M.P.
Well it’s half true. Few weeks before her, there was the “slave contract” case but (and I may seem cynical saying this) it happened in Norway. Despite the uproar it generated, the information was hard to access since it was all in Norwegian. Besides, it felt too far away from countries such as Spain, France or U.K. which still represent an important amount of Ryanair’s passenger traffic. This new affair is different. Sophie Growcoot is a British citizen, most information regarding her situation is available in English and she is well-supported. Can we see the beginning of an upheaval? Hard to say. One thing is true though, if this situation goes all the way to the top, Ryanair will be in serious troubles, especially since European Union seems to be waiting for an occasion to condemn the company, which has been taking advantages of legal loopholes for too long for many representatives.

This fight of the weak against the strong, of David vs. Goliath, may definitely damage Ryanair… which seems to have taken discreet actions to take care of it, according to John Foley from Ryanair Don’t Care, who claims that the airline could have hired a PR agency to spin the attention away from this embarrassing predicament. So far, this information is yet to be proven.

All in all, the threat represented by a potential social conflict is to be taken seriously by Ryanair’s chiefs. No wonder financial analysts are divided upon the budget airline’s profit: one argued the company may face “persistent risks regarding social issues and airport taxes”.
Tell me something I don’t know…

For those who have just come back from a 1000-year trip in the past, you can read the story of Sophie Growcoot here. For those who are just too lazy to click, you’ll find below a quick sample of the article that will tell you enough to excel in high society:
Sophie Growcoot contacted her local MP to reveal that her employment contract with Crewlink, a contractor for Ryanair:
* Forced her to take three months compulsory unpaid leave a year – in the quiet winter months – during which she would be forbidden to take another job but receive no money.
* Made her pay £360 for a Ryanair uniform. She had to pay another £1,800 towards a mandatory safety course.
* Only paid her for the hours that she was actually “in the air”. She was not paid for pre-flight briefings, turnaround time between flights, sales meetings and time on the ground due to delays and flight cancellations. The hourly flying rate was just £13.07 an hour with no contractual review for three years.
* Paid her for only four days work a week. On the fifth she was expected to be on call and to turn up for work with an hour’s notice. Standby days were not paid unless she was called in to work.
Ryanair and Crewlink have both declared the statements inaccurate and untrue.


John said, 


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