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Sell more or be disciplined… November 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Is this a vision of the future? It’s certainly a vision of the present in non-unionised companies…

Ryanair cabin crew have been told they could face “disciplinary proceedings” and have their working hours forcibly changed unless they sell more perfume and scratchcards.

The Irish airline has previously denied pressuring staff to hit specific sales targets, after it emerged they were encouraged to sell products in return for bonuses.

But letters sent to crew members by recruitment firms that supply staff to Ryanair – seen by the Guardian – warn of dire consequences for those whose average sales per flight fall “below budget”.

The letters highlight 10 products, including drinks, confectionery, cosmetics and scratchcards, listing the percentage of flights in which individual cabin crew members had not sold enough.

Next time someone says unions aren’t necessary – and I still here that old trope every once in a while, I’ll remind them of the above.

And fair dues to IMPACT here for pointing out one very salient fact:

The Irish trade union Impact, which was shown a copy of one letter, said: “It makes for grim reading.

“The primary role of cabin crew is flight safety, in-flight sales is a secondary role.

“This correspondence suggests a crude approach to performance management, and reveals the vulnerability of individual staff if they don’t reach the targets they’ve been set.

“The client airline’s position on organised labour is well documented, so I’m struck by the fact, more than anything else, that this person had nobody to turn to when they received that letter.”

At the weekend in the Observer the point was made:

Ryanair’s “ancillary revenues” – income from products such as perfume, alcohol and cosmetics, as well as baggage charges – reached £1.5bn last year.

That makes the no-frills Irish airline a bigger retailer than high street stalwarts such as WH Smith, House of Fraser or Halfords.

And (as with IMPACT) noted:

But Ryanair is an airline, not an airborne shop, and the primary responsibility of cabin crew is to ensure passengers’ safety and comfort. They should not have to feel at risk of being hauled over the coals by over-zealous middle managers if their sales patter isn’t up to scratch.


1. FergusD - November 30, 2017

Ryanair have me by the short and curlies because the route I fly every year is now only really serviced by them. I never buy anything, although herself always has an expensive cup of tea. I can do without for an hour and a half. Now I feel I should have one for the sake of the cabin crew.

As Ryanair is Irish registered it will presumably not suffer the regulatory problems UK airlines will face with Brexit? THey could clean up. I see EasyJet have set up EasyJet Europe and have something going with an Austrian outfit.


2. Des Derwin - December 2, 2017

It is interesting that “ancillary sales” at Ryanair reached £1.5 billion last year. As ‘The Guardian’ reported in May:
“The Irish airline made a profit after tax of €1.3bn (£1.1bn) in the year to the end of March, even though it slashed ticket prices to fill almost 14m seats added during the period.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said fares had fallen 13% but profitability had doubled over three years. He added: “Frankly I see no reason why that trend won’t continue.”

Not all of these “ancillary sales” were the forced retail sales of cabin crews. It would be interesting to know how much was and what proportion of the profits on them made up the £1.1bn profit.
We usually counter the laudatory, ‘Ryanair allowed everyone to fly’ with ‘at the cost of the pay and conditions of airline workers’. This response has always seemed a bit lame, if perfectly true, to me: at a cost to some thousands of airline workers, millions of workers could now fly, far away and frequently. There are other counters, like ‘Ryanair got off the ground with government help’, and ‘cheaper flying was on the way anyhow’.

But the “ancillary sales” and the slave-driving humiliation of hawking scratchcards points to an even more direct correspondence between Ryanair’s doubled profitability, “slashed ticket prices” and the condition of the working class under Michael O’Leary. Cheaps flights there may be, and a corresponding squeeze on operating profits; but here we have something above and beyond the surplus produced by airline labour and even the airline labour of a non-union, agency-employed workforce. The labour above and beyond the normal cabin crew duty. The requirement to also be a sales assistant, a pressured huckster of scratchcards, and to turn a profit on 10 products.
And, as mentioned, it would be interesting to see what piece of the £1.1bn profit came from the retail element of the £1.5bn “ancillary sales”.


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