ITF/ETF PRESS RELEASE: Ryanair business model must reform now

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’
Federation (ETF) today warned that Ryanair’s business model of outsourcing and the rejection of staff requests for better conditions and union representation is putting the airline’s future in doubt.
The ITF revealed that, following the defeat for Ryanair/Crewlink at the European Court of
Justice last week, it has been approached by a number of investors who are concerned by
analysts’ estimates that compliance with the judgement will increase Ryanair’s labour costs by
up to 20 percent – leading them to question the sustainability of its aggressive and cost-cutting
business model.

ITF general secretary Steve Cotton explained: “Ryanair is at a crisis point, facing a triple
whammy of being taken to task by the ECJ, having mismanaged its flight time obligations, and
lost consumer and staff confidence.
“These aren’t random misfortunes. For years representative bodies, including our own affiliated
unions, have called for improvements – from union recognition to improvements in pay and
conditions. Instead the airline has stuck with a stubbornly single-minded business model that
operates in the margins, leaving no room for compliance with, among other things, flight time
and leave entitlements for all crew.
“That outsourcing model – which is typical of the kind of forced precarious working that is
increasingly being successfully challenged in the world’s courts – is now leading analysts to
question the sustainability of these employment practices.”
Oliver Richardson, chair of the ITF’s civil aviation section and national officer at Unite the Union, commented: “The truth is that when the business was on the way up shareholders were happy to believe the model was sustainable. Ryanair’s control of the release of information around compliance risks also reduced shareholders’ ability to hold the board to account on employment matters and impact on broader corporate governance. Those days are now over.”
“”Put simply, it’s time for Ryanair to reform. Shareholders face significant risk, passengers are
angry, and workers have had enough. The emergence this week of a more coordinated
approach from workers will expedite access to improvements. The ITF will work with our unions
to secure this.”
Eduardo Chagas, general secretary of the ETF, added: “Offering small allowances and knee
jerk pay awards, while at the same time continuing with an aggressive management style, is not
going to get Ryanair’s management out of the hole that it has dug for itself. Ryanair has no
choice but to adopt a new and consultative business model. The fact that Ryanair operates in
the European Union should imply that basic labour rights are granted to all Ryanair workers.”