In the latest “you can’t make this stuff up” move by Ryanair, according to trusted news site Bloomberg, staff are fighting for free drinking water. While this is just the tip of the iceberg of staff working conditions, it is serious in it’s own right. Water and toilet breaks are a basic need. It’s just another weird element of the Ryanair cabin crew strike.
Ryanair cabin crew strike for basic rights
The Irish LLC is now seriously suffering under a major strike season. Last Friday, 400 flights across Ireland, Germany and the continent were cancelled due to strikes. Pilots are asking for conditions that would lead to more predictable pay, cabin crew are fighting for a living wage. Both want better conditions.
And while the company has been quick to point the finger at its employees, passengers are not so hasty. The reason behind this is clear. Passengers and employees alike have all suffered under Ryanair’s sometimes-ridiculous behaviour. From having us stuff our little bag into our big bag, while waiting to board to denying sick travellers something to drink, the airline is sometimes Kafkaesque.
What are Ryanair worker conditions like?
We’ve been hearing lots of reports of the terrible conditions and benefits crew endure. From unpaid time while on the ground to being charged for their uniforms. However, Ryanair worker conditions hit a new low this week when it emerged there’s an issue ensuring access to drinking water.
The report doesn’t specify whether cabin crew do currently pay for water or not, but that the want to ensure they won’t have to in the future. If they are fighting to protect their right to water, that’s one thing. But if they are fighting to gain it – that’s another.
I’m sure I’m not the only passenger to have ever noticed the crew tucking into a home made packed lunch at the back of the flight. And that seems wrong enough. However, water is a human right. And as there is no clean drinking water on a flight, they either need to bring their own from home, buy it in the airport – or on the plane.
Why do Ryanair want crew to pay for water?
The business model for Ryanair is extremely tight and the in-flight crew have sales targets. They’re not just being annoying – they really need to sell you scratch cards and perfume to keep their jobs. This is because Ryanair runs a ‘discount model’. Essentially, they sell you a flight at cost or below cost to get you in as a customer and upsell.
Many of the demands made by the pilots and cabin crew threaten this model. From higher salaries and pensions, to free drinking water, every time Ryanair gives an inch, it costs it a cent.
Lifting expenses, means no more cheap-as-chips flights and everytime someone wonders if another airline might be cheaper, Ryanair loses a customer opportunity. Higher costs make the fragile Ryanair model unsustainable. And unfortunately, O’Leary knows unless he fights tooth and nail for every little cent, he’s going under.