The ham sandwich that stuck in the Spanish Ryanair steward’s throat
Cabin-crew member was sacked for not paying for the snack before eating it
Low-cost carrier Ryanair has something of a reputation for being strict in applying its in-house regulations for passengers but is also a stickler for the rules when it comes to its own personnel. As a result of the release of a court ruling it has emerged that Dublin-based airline has sacked a Spanish steward for eating a sandwich on board without previously paying for it.
The Spanish Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against his sacking lodged by the steward in question, who is resident in Madrid, but was hired under Irish labor laws.
Ryanair opened disciplinary proceedings against the employee after the sandwich incident, which ended up with him being dismissed for failing to adhere to a rule that states that cabin crew must ask for permission to consume food items on sale to passengers and pay for them before proceeding to eat them. According to Ryanair’s in-flight price lists, the ham, cheese and tomato sandwich in question costs 5.50 euros.
The Supreme Court ruled that Spanish labor courts had no jurisdiction over the case
The steward began working for Ryanair in June 2007 on a series of temporary contracts, the last of which he signed in June 2010 and which was due to expire in June 2013. He was fired at the start of 2011. His last contract was as a cabin-crew member on Ryanair flights out of Oslo with a gross salary of 20.070 euros a year.
He took his case to a court of first instance in Madrid where he lived when not working, but it declared itself unable to take it on. A Madrid provincial court eventually agreed to accept his suit for unfair dismissal. However, the Supreme Court ruled that Spanish labor courts had no jurisdiction over the case because he was employed under Irish law.
A French court in October of last year fined Ryanair more than eight billion euros after deciding it had breached local labor laws when it employed more than 120 staff at its Marseille hub on Irish contracts. The amount involved social charges, pension contributions and unemployment payments that it would have incurred under French law.
Ryanair said it would appeal the French ruling, arguing that it had complied with European Union employment rules and that there was a contradiction between those rules and French law. “Ryanair believes this contradiction can ultimately only be resolved by the European Courts upholding EU regulations on the employment of mobile transport workers, and Ryanair intends to pursue this appeal all the way to the European Courts,” the airline said at the time.