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Ryanair pays us less than pensioners: Norway staff

Ryanair staff in Norway are paid less than a Norwegian pensioner’s most basic government allowance, judging by pay slips revealed by staff at Rygge Airport south of Oslo.

Ryanair pays us less than pensioners: Norway staff
Photo: Andrea Graziadio (File)

A handful of the several dozen cabin crew supplementing their diets with donated food while making do in accommodations near the Moss, Østfold airport have told their story to NRK television reporters. Despite living in one of the priciest countries in the world, staff appear to be making an average of under 11,000 kroner (US$1,932) a month.

An average gross salary per year appears to be 150,000 kroner, or below 158,400 — a government set minimum income for surviving in Norway and the amount a pensioner on a minimum state payout gets.

Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, was shown saying the pay slips don’t tell the whole story.

A former Ryanair staffer, however, said staff are suffering from getting by on wages below the cost of living in Norway.

“(I was) working sometimes for seven or eight hours for 300 kroner. I mean, this is Norway. It’s slavery, and I don’t think the Norwegian government can accept this and let it happen,” said ex-Ryanair Rygge cabin staff David Puglisi.

The report said other staff confirmed Puglisi was right about getting just 150,000 kroner a year. He said some of those colleagues have had to sneak onto the train to work to save  money.

Like the airline, staff pay tax to Ireland, a formality that puts them outside Norway’s carefully built up labour laws.

O’Leary has been unapologetic, and says senior cabin crew earn €31,000 a year while their juniors earn €24,000. The airline said the average salary was 185,000 kroner (currently €23,800, $32,800)) per year.

Meanwhile, customers are continuing to stream to Rygge for tickets to southern European destinations that have been lower than 100 kroner.

Norwegian labour leaders, meanwhile, called the news that Ryanair’s payroll is roughly half that of rival airline Norwegian another example of “social dumping”, a trade union catchword for the practice of employing low-cost staff in a high-cost country.

Norway’s unions recently fought a mostly successful battle to get building firms to pay Poles the going rate for carpentry and masonry work.

The Norwegian Federation of Labour Unions, or LO, has a court case pending with Ryanair. O’Leary and the company recently celebrated two million passengers in two years at Rygge, although the tough CEO said he could end Ryanair’s presence there if airport officials don’t lift limits on passengers.

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AIRLINE

Airline Norwegian posts 15 billion kroner loss after nightmare 2020

Low cost airline Norwegian has registered a loss of 14.9 billion Norwegian kroner for 2020, a year in which the company saw a drastic reduction in passenger numbers and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

A file photo of a Norwegian Air Shuttle plane in Finland.
A file photo of a Norwegian Air Shuttle plane in Finland. Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva / AFP

Low cost airline Norwegian has registered a loss of 14.9 billion Norwegian kroner for 2020, a year in which the company saw a drastic reduction in passenger numbers and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

The company published its annual results on Friday, revealing the huge operating loss.

Norwegian’s 2019 result, a loss of around 1.7 billion kroner, had put the company in a difficult position even prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak and its consequent travel restrictions reduced the company’s passenger numbers to 6.9 million in 2020. That is 29 million fewer than in 2019.

Not all of the loss is due to fewer passengers. Around half of the company’s devaluation is attributed to a depreciation of the value of its aircraft fleet, news wire Ritzau reports.

“2020 was an exceptionally demanding year for air travel and for Norwegian,” CEO Jacob Schram said in a statement on the annual results.

“In light of that, the result for the fourth quarter (of 2020) is not surprising. Unfortunately, the majority of our employees are furloughed and many have lost their jobs – in part because of the closure of long distance services,” he added.

The company was already in debt prior to the pandemic and is now under bankruptcy protection in Ireland and is undergoing similar process in Norway.

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