Ryanair staff made to buy £360 uniform and only paid for time 'in the air'

Updated: 

Ryanair staff made to buy £360 uniform and only paid for time 'in the air'


Ryanair has been accused of exploiting its staff after a former flight attendant contacted her local MP to reveal that the low-cost airline only pays workers for the time they spend 'in the air' and are forced to pay £360 for their uniform.

Sophie Growcoot, 20, said she was made to take three months unpaid leave per year in the off-peak winter season but was not allowed to take another job during this time.

Growcoot, from Liverpool, revealed that she had to purchase the airline's uniform for £360 and was forced to spend another £1,800 on a safety course.

In addition, she was only paid for the hours spent "in the air" but not the time on the ground because of delays and cancellations, time between flights, meetings or staff briefings.

The air stewardess claims she had to work for four days a week and was expected to be on call on a fifth day but not paid unless she was called in to work.

The Independent reports that MP Luciana Berger accused chief executive Michael O'Leary of treating his staff badly.

"This is exploitation by Ryanair – pure and simple," she said.

"It's outrageous that an airline that reported record profits last year doesn't pay its staff for all the time they are at work. How can Michael O'Leary think it is fair or acceptable for his company to be profiting on the backs of exploited cabin crew like Sophie?"

Speaking to the Independent, Ms Growcoot said: "I was really excited about joining Ryanair's cabin crew at first, but it was a total nightmare," she said.

"I couldn't believe it when I learnt I wouldn't be paid for all the time I was working."

A Ryanair spokesman accused Ms Berger of "using her House of Commons privilege to make false accusations".

"We are surprised by Ms Berger's statement in the House of Commons, since this person was not employed by Ryanair, but by a contractor company, Crewlink Ltd, and appears to have left their employment without notice after just two months," the spokesman said.

In March, Ryanair was taken to court for publishing a "sexist" calendar showing female cabin crew in their underwear and bikinis.

Related articles

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary: "Seatbelts on planes are pointless"

Ryanair accused of charging UK passengers more

Which airline has been voted worst short-haul carrier?

Ten things we love to hate about low-cost flying

Ten things we love to hate about low-cost flying