Ryanair says it has sacked six of its employees for irreparably damaging their reputation.
The employees, all crew members, staged a photograph of themselves sleeping on the floor at Malaga Airport in Spain when they were grounded overnight because of weather issues.
The image surfaced on October 14 after flights to the Portuguese city of Porto were disrupted because of storms and several flights were diverted to Malaga. The photo was then widely shared online.
This is a Ryanair 737 crew based in Portugal, stranded in Malaga, Spain a couple of nights ago due to storms. They are sleeping on the floor of the Ryanair crew room. RYR is earning €1.25 billion this year but will not put stranded crews in a hotel for the night. @peterbellew ? pic.twitter.com/lILWZVqqGj— Jim Atkinson (@Jimbaba) October 14, 2018
This is a Ryanair 737 crew based in Portugal, stranded in Malaga, Spain a couple of nights ago due to storms. They are sleeping on the floor of the Ryanair crew room. RYR is earning €1.25 billion this year but will not put stranded crews in a hotel for the night. @peterbellew ?
Security footage then released by the budget airline showed the employees getting into position on the floor for the photo. After the photo is taken, the flight crew can be seen getting up and walking away.
Ryanair exposes fake photo of cabin crew sleeping in crew room. Watch video here: pic.twitter.com/tzTn6EHsKH— Ryanair (@Ryanair) October 17, 2018
Ryanair confirmed the staff was fired on November 5 for ‘breach of contract on grounds of gross misconduct.’
Portuguese union SNPVAC has not yet commented on the firing of the employees.
In October, the union alleged the staff had no access to food, drink and were forced to sleep on the floor.
‘The stranded Crew, in a gesture of protest, took a photo that immediately became viral: Laying on the floor was the only option to rest; their ‘suitable accommodation,’ SNPVAC said in a statement released in October.
Ryanair says the staffers spent only a short period of time in the crew room before being moved to a VIP lounge
The carrier said ‘hotels were fully booked’ because of a national holiday.
The company claims the employees’ behavior ‘damaged their employer’s reputation and caused an irreparable breach of trust.’
The Portuguese Union may yet respond to the decision.