Ryanair fires six crew members for ‘fake’ photo

The low-cost carrier said the staff were dismissed for staging a fake photograph to support a false claim that they were forced to sleep on the floor of the Malaga crew room. (Social Media)
Updated 07 November 2018
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Ryanair fires six crew members for ‘fake’ photo

  • Six Portugal-based employees decided to lie on the floor at Malaga airport in protest at what they slammed as inadequate accommodation
  • Ryanair is currently engaged in a struggle with European cabin crew members as well as various governments over working conditions

MADRID: Ryanair said Wednesday it had fired six cabin crew who took a photograph of themselves simulating having to sleep on the floor in Spain’s Malaga airport as part of a protest over conditions.
The low-cost carrier said the staff were dismissed for staging “a fake photograph to support a false claim (widely reported in international media outlets) that they were ‘forced to sleep on the floor’ of the Malaga crew room.”
It added this had damaged the airline’s reputation, just as Ryanair is engaged in a struggle with European cabin crew members as well as various governments over working conditions and claims of its disregard for national labor laws.
Unions said that on October 14, as storms raged in southern Spain and Portugal, more than 20 cabin crew had to spend the night at Malaga airport.
They were put in the Ryanair crew room overnight and then moved to a VIP lounge normally used by clients at around six in the morning, both equipped with only chairs or sofas, Spain’s SITCPLA cabin crew union said.
During that time, six Portugal-based employees decided to lie on the floor for the photo in protest at what they slammed as inadequate accommodation.
Ryanair’s chief operations officer Peter Bellew apologized on Twitter, saying that “all hotels were completely booked out in Malaga.”
“Apologies to the crew we could not find accommodation.”
Luciana Passo, head of Portugal’s SNPVAC union, acknowledged it was a protest photo.
“There were 24 cabin crew members in a room with eight chairs,” she said according to local news agency Lusa.
“Some of them decided to show their indignation by lying on the floor as the other chairs were taken, and one person, who wasn’t part of the crew, decided to publish the photo on social media. And they end up fired.”
SITCPLA meanwhile questioned whether it really was impossible to find hotels in a tourist magnet such as Malaga and its surroundings in southern Spain, especially in low season October.
Ryanair has been hit by strikes by cabin crew members for months. This has forced the airline to start recognizing some cabin crew and pilots unions as it looks to avoid further stoppages.


No politics please for Baghdad bikers aiming to unite Iraq

Updated 21 January 2019
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No politics please for Baghdad bikers aiming to unite Iraq

  • The Iraq Bikers — who now number 380 — are men of all ages, social classes and various faiths
  • With his black bandana and goatee, the leader of the Baghdad pack, known as “Captain,” looks the epitome of the American biker-outlaw

BAGHDAD: Roaring along Baghdad’s highways, the “Iraq Bikers” are doing more than showing off their love of outsized motorcycles and black leather: they want their shared enthusiasm to help heal Iraq’s deep sectarian rifts.
Weaving in and out of traffic, only the lucky few ride Harley Davidsons — a rare and expensive brand in Iraq — while others make do with bikes pimped-up to look something like the “Easy Rider” dream machines.
“Our goal is to build a brotherhood,” said Bilal Al-Bayati, 42, a government employee who founded the club in 2012 with the aim of improving the image of biker gangs and to promote unity after years of sectarian conflict.
That is why the first rule of his bikers club is: you do not talk about politics.
“It is absolutely prohibited to talk politics among members,” Bayati told Reuters as he sat with fellow bikers in a shisha cafe, a regular hangout for members.
“Whenever politics is mentioned, the members are warned once or twice and then expelled. We no longer have the strength to endure these tragedies or to repeat them,” he said, referring to sectarian violence.
With his black bandana and goatee, the leader of the Baghdad pack, known as “Captain,” looks the epitome of the American biker-outlaw.
But while their style is unmistakably US-inspired — at least one of Bayati’s cohorts wears a helmet emblazoned with the stars and stripes — these bikers fly the Iraqi flag from the panniers of their machines.
The Iraq Bikers — who now number 380 — are men of all ages, social classes and various faiths. One of their most recent events was taking part in Army Day celebrations.
Some are in the military, the police and even the Popular Mobilization Forces, a grouping of mostly Shiite militias which have taken part in the fight to oust Islamic State from Iraq in the last three years.
“It is a miniature Iraq,” said member Ahmed Haidar, 36, who works with an international relief agency.
But riding a chopper through Baghdad is quite different from Route 101. The bikers have to slow down at the many military checkpoints set up around the city to deter suicide and car bomb attacks.
And very few can afford a top bike.
“We don’t have a Harley Davidson franchise here,” said Kadhim Naji, a mechanic who specializes in turning ordinary motorbikes into something special.
“So what we do is we alter the motorbike, so it looks similar ... and it is cheaper.”