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When corporate culture goes bad

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I’ve watched the developments at Ryanair unfold with a combination of incredulity and interest – I have to admit that it isn’t a company I’ve historically had a lot of time for and I’ll do pretty much anything to avoid using their services. The management of their recent issues, however, seems to have taken bad people management to a new, low-level.

If you don’t know the story, on 16 September they announced that they were going to be cancelling about 40-50 flights per day for a period of six weeks to “improve punctuality”, however, they weren’t (couldn’t?) going to tell people which flights in advance. The following day they added to this that they’d, “messed up” the holiday schedules of pilots as a result of changing the holiday year from financial to calendar year.

Then the stories started emerging of a pilot shortage which the company denied (although Norwegian Air say they’ve recruited 140 pilots from Ryanair this year and another airline who hired 40 pilots said 32 came from Ryanair). Instead the company offered their existing pilots a one-off bonus of £12,000 or €12,000 if they agreed to work extra hours, extra days and have low levels of sickness absence. Which didn’t go down well with the existing pilots – who saw it as an attempt to skirt around the real issue. The company responded by saying they were going to cancel part of their pilots’ holidays.

CEO Michael O’Leary said Ryanair had, “”some goodies” to propose to pilots, but added: “If pilots misbehave, that will be the end of the goodies.”

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