Ryanair staff bite back

Jan 11 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Budget airline Ryanair is one of those companies you either love or hate Ė the latter emotion normally coming after you have been stranded in some far-off destination with no sign of a flight home and no information as to when one might arrive (yes, it's happened to us).

So it was interesting to learn that the International Transport Workers' Federation has set up a website - www.ryan-be-fair.org - to offer the staff of the strongly anti-union airline "the freedom to discuss their work, conditions and any problems they have".

According to the federation, the site has received more than half a million hits from 51,000 people over the past four months. And while it admits that there is no way of proving that any of the comments left on the site are genuine, it seems equally unlikely that all the complaints aired online are fabricated.

" Ryanair does not care about its cabin crew and just takes the most they possibly can squeeze out of us. After a twelve hour day without a break, I donít have the energy to be nice to passengers or check that my nail polish is still on. Come on Ryanair start valuing what we do because without us you could not fly".

Although as another poster says, "If you donít like the company then get out."

As we noted yesterday, the power of trade unions in Europe appears to be on the wane. But sites like this raise the interesting spectre of groups of employees using the power of the web to appeal directly to an organisation's customers and suppliers, something that could have a real effect on its public profile and brand as an employer.

Predictably, Ryainair's acerbic boss, Michael OíLeary, described the site as "generally just fiction", while the company's director of personnel, Eddie Wilson, described it as "an irrelevance to Ryanair" and "nothing but an empty vessel making more noise".

Irrelevant? The fact that the story appeared in today's Financial Times as well as being syndicated on the news wires suggests that the Transport Workers' Federation's may well be onto something with this tactic. At the very least, it might provide some food for thought if you were thinking of applying for a job with the airline . . .