Ryanair sacks staff for gross misconduct after they are pictured ‘sleeping on airport floor’ in Spain

Ryanair has sacked several staff members for what the company says is a 'fake' photograph of them sleeping on an airport floor.

The six crew members were pictured lying on the ground of Malaga airportin Spain after they were left stranded when their Porto-bound flights were diverted on 14 October.

The image was widely shared online and led to accusations from Portuguese union SNPVAC that the staff were left 'without minimum rest facilities'.

Ryanair insisted that no crew slept on the floor (Getty)

However Ryanair, who last month came under fire for their handling of a racist incident on one of their flights, say the image was 'staged' – and confirmed to Yahoo News UK that the crew members have been sacked for gross misconduct.

A spokesperson said: 'All six cabin crew members in Porto were dismissed on Mon 5 Nov for breach of contract on grounds of gross misconduct, after 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, which was behaviour which damaged their employer's reputation and caused an irreparable breach of trust with these six persons.'

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The company earlier said that the crew 'spent a short period of time in the crew room before being moved to a VIP lounge' before returning to Porto the following day.

SNPVAC insisted that the crew were left without access to food, drinks or a place to sit down, but confirmed that the staff were moved to a VIP lounge at 06:00.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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