Working conditions at Ryanair

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Hubertus Heil and Frank Bsirske are equally horrified. “There are working conditions here that I did not think possible. We meet the 19th century, “says the head of the services union Verdi. “Here fundamental workers’ rights are trampled on and globalization equated with exploitation,” adds Bundesarbeitsminister Heil (SPD) on Friday morning at Frankfurt Airport. Both have been talking intensively with employees of the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair .

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary express his employees like a lemon, the visitors say. Half a dozen flight attendants nod in agreement as Heil, Bsirske and the Hessian SPD leader Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel describe their impressions. And keep up signs on which they claim their rights. Also the abolition of paragraph 117 of the Works Constitution Act. The stating that the staff of an airline in the cabin as well as in the cockpit can form a works council only if there is a collective agreement.

Because this is not the case with Ryanair, the employees can not choose a substitute, making it difficult to assert their rights. “We will close this gap by the end of the year,” promises Heil. He launched a corresponding initiative in the Federal Cabinet.

According to Bsirske, the cabin crew at Ryanair are working on the verge of subsistence and face repression and threats. Most young people have worse working conditions than their grandparents. “When I started my job a year ago, I had a gross monthly wage of 900 euros,” says a 20-year-old Italian, who is based in Frankfurt as a flight attendant. Before that, she paid 3000 euros for her education. In the beginning she was employed by an agency, today she has a contract with Ryanair and gets 1200 Euro gross; Half of it goes for the rent.

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