Ryanair Unions Lobby Investors to End ‘Bullying’ Business Model

(Bloomberg) -- Labor unions are lobbying shareholders at strike-ravaged Ryanair Holdings Plc to pressure the airline into abandoning a business model they say is based on browbeating staff to keep down costs.

Other discount carriers manage to turn a profit while maintaining a healthy working environment, the Belgian, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian unions said in a letter to investors on Thursday, adding that Ryanair has been insincere in its pledge to hold meaningful talks.

Ryanair uses “bullying as a management tool,” punishing people for being sick, sending intimidating letters to those exercising their right to strike, and threatening to cut jobs in countries where crews are protesting, according to the letter, which labeled the carrier’s approach to business “obsolete.”

Ryanair said in a statement that the claims are false and made by smaller unions that it doesn’t recognize. “Letters to shareholders are a failed attempt to generate fake news and will be ignored by both Ryanair and our shareholders,” it added.

Europe’s biggest discount airline is locked in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay and working conditions after being forced to accept unionization following a rostering foul-up last year that left it short-staffed and forced a raft of timetable changes. The most recent walkouts last Friday led to the scrapping of more than 400 flights affecting upwards of 55,000 customers.

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