Ryanair staff asked to take unpaid leave

Further complications have emerged at Ryanair as some staff at the East Midlands base in England have allegedly been told to take a six-week block of unpaid leave.

This advert depicts a disgruntled looking Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary and invites customers to defect to Lufthansa's Eurowings discount unit.

Customer service supervisors were reportedly told to either take the unpaid leave or a secondment to bases at Eindhoven, Cologne, and Berlin, but they would have to pay for their own hotels and meals during that period.

The reported offer was made because of a winter reduction in aircraft at the UK base.

The news comes as the airline this week confirmed the cancellation of thousands of flights due to the over-rostering of pilots.

Pilots were offered bonuses of up to €12,000 to buy back annual leave and some were offered an annual pay rise of €10,000.

However, a large number of pilots, through the airlines Employee Representative Councils (ERCs) rejected the offers.

Instead, 17 of the ERCs wrote to the airline’s chief operations officer, Michael Hickey, asking for improved conditions, including contracts.

They said they looked forward to a reply by 10am yesterday.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, in a broadcast on an internal channel at the airline, apologised to staff. He also said he would meet with all ERCs in the coming weeks to discuss their grievances.

Yesterday, Lufthansa took out a full-page advertisement in Handelsblatt, a daily German newspaper, mocking Mr O’Leary’s handling of the pilot shortage.

The caption, beside a photograph of the airline boss, read: “O’Deary!”

It also invited customers affected by the cancellations to defect to Lufthansa’s own low-fares airline, Eurowings.

Eurowings then reached out to Ryanair customers on social media who had been impacted by the “Ryanfall”, fall referring to the German word for flop.

Yesterday, the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) in Ireland issued an updated statement in relation to compensation for Ryanair passengers affected by the flight cancellations.

The statement explained why some passengers would not be compensated, due to the notice they were given of their cancelled flights.

“Ryanair has said all passengers that had their flights cancelled up to October 28, were notified on or before Monday, September 18, and that any cancellation after October 2, will not qualify for compensation,” read the statement.

“Any cancellation between September 10 and October 2 included, which were cancelled due to Ryanair’s scheduling issue, will be entitled to compensation.”

Cancellations, not qualifying for compensation, due to strikes and poor weather were also addressed by CAR.

“Ryanair has said that on September 10 and September 12 there were some cancellations due to thunderstorms in Italy and the French ATC [air traffic control] strike. Ryanair has stated these passengers will not be entitled to compensation as these issues were outside of Ryanair’s control,” read the statement.

“All other flights within the 14 days are entitled to full compensation.”

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