Last week in Bombay I met a Lufthansa pilot who is actively involved in the European pilots union and is concerned with safety. He subsequently sent me an article that revealed some interesting facts on Ryanair cabin crew. Hopefully he will send me more on the flight crews too.
Below are the bullet points from an article that he had sent concerning two cabin crew members who had been fired. For all US based Flight Attendants, I think you'll agree the grass is not always greener.
- While the employer can terminate the three-year contracts at any point, and with anywhere from zero to 14 days notice, the employee was subject to a charge of EUR 200 as an “administrative fee” if she resigned prior to 15 months.
- The employee not only had to pay for her own training but also for her uniforms (EUR 30 was deducted from her paychecks each month for a year) and their ID cards. Any items consumed on board the aircraft was also deducted from her pay. If the amount of deductions exceeded her paycheck, the difference was due within 14 days and subject to interest costs and fees if overdue.
- Hourly pay in one of the flight attendant’s contracts was set at NOK 122 (USD 21) per hour of flight time, with no extra pay for weekend or holiday work. Annual pay was estimated at NOK 115,000 (USD 20,000).
- Participation in any strikes or demonstrations related to a labour conflict were grounds for immediate dismissal.
- No sick leave was paid and any absence from scheduled work, regardless of reason, led to deduction from her paychecks. Twenty days of annual holiday had to be planned well in advance and could be cancelled at any time if Ryanair needed the employee to work. She could also be ordered to take a minimum of four weeks of unpaid leave every year to meet the company’s need to reduce staffing during low travel seasons.
- The employee was also subject to a certain number of “stand-by” shifts and had to be able to report to work within an hour if called in. No compensation was paid for the stand-by waiting periods.
- The Rygge airport at Moss, south of Oslo, was listed as the employee’s base, but she was warned that she could be moved at any time, and would need to pay the costs of her move.
- All terms of the contracts were to be kept confidential. The employee was warned that violation of the confidentiality tied to the contracts would be seen as grave dereliction of duty and grounds for dismissal with possible legal action as well.
What is happening in Europe in Aviation? This is might just be the tip of the Iceberg.
"2013 is expected to be another profitless year for the European carriers. After the deregulation in 2008, the airline companies have been facing massive losses close to $1.7 billion dollars. Despite the fragmented air traffic management, the lack of infrastructure, high fuel costs and commodities charges, and heavy operational regulations, competition for the most profitable route has shifted to Europe’s 3rd biggest export location, Russia..."
Are slave wages the answer? How does cutting costs impact safety? Please drop by The Aviator to read more the the European Crisis...
Enjoy the Journey!