Holiday – Ryanair cancelled 82 flights on Sunday after admitting it had “messed up” the planning of its pilots’ holiday.
The budget airline said on Saturday 16th September that it would cancel 40-50 flights every day for the next six weeks.
Marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said, “Affected customers with bookings up to 20 September had been informed.”
“We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we’re working hard to fix that,” he said.
Matthew Pinto-Chilcott from Consensus HR comments “Over the weekend I was amazed to see the news in relation to Ryan air and the mess up it has made of its employees holidays resulting in the cancelling of 40 – 50 flights per day. Holidays are such an important part of an employee’s employment together with their salaries and need to be managed accordingly. In all industries business owners / managers need to ensure that they are continually keeping an eye on what holiday has been taken & what holiday still needs to be taken by its employees and would suggest that the teams managers / HR have this as a subject / KPI in key business meetings.
Most of the cancellations are due to a backlog of staff leave, which has seen large numbers of the airline’s staff book holidays towards the end of the year.
Martin Callanan, the aviation minister, said: “I am very concerned to see all of these reports of stranded Ryanair passengers. We expect all airlines to fulfil their obligations to their customers and do everything possible to notify them well in advance of any disruption to their journey.
“In the event of any disruption or cancellation, airlines must ensure customers are fully compensated and every effort is made to provide alternative travel arrangements.”
The airline is changing its holiday year, which currently runs from April to March, to run from January to December instead.
Ryanair said the shift meant it had to allocate annual leave to pilots in September and October.
The cancellations could affect up to 285,000 passengers, who will be offered alternative flights or refunds.
Mr Jacobs said affected customers would have been sent an email.
“We advise customers to check the email address used to make their booking,” he added.
Matthew from Consensus comments “Wow! 285,000 customers affected & their plans ruined. Managing the team’s holidays is a relatively easy exercise if you have the right procedures in place whether this is a simple pen & paper exercise to a more sophisticated cloud based electronic method, which we can supply to our customers. Business Owners / Managers need to remember that employees request holiday and it is to be taken when it fits in best with the business as well as the employee. They also need to remember the law and the Working Time Directive which gives all full-time employees 20 days holiday + bank holidays (8). Business owners can also block out specific times of the year if needed and the team are informed appropriately.”
A page on the Ryanair website details flights cancelled up until 20 September. It says 56 flights are cancelled on Monday, 55 on Tuesday, and 53 on Wednesday.
Ryanair has said that less than 2% of its flights would be cancelled and the move would help it hit its annual punctuality target of 90%.
But passengers have complained about the resulting uncertainty.
If you are concerned about your holidays & the managing of them appropriately, contact us to discuss on 01462 621243 or by filling in our Internet ‘Contact’ form.
Consensus HR – ‘Helping Companies with their People Solutions’
Sports Direct warehouse employee (s) who say they are unhappy with their working conditions are being identified by their fingerprints and asked to explain their grievances to management, according to the trade union Unite.
A recent article in the Guardian by Rob Davies titled Sports Direct workers invited to press sad or happy emboli clocking in highlights the way the company is now measuring the attitude of its employees whilst at work whilst ensuring it is brought to the attention of their manager so that the necessary action can be taken but is this an effective way to do this?
Matthew of Consensus HR comments “Business owners should surely not need the use of such gadgets to measure the attitude of their employees and should be down to the relationship they have with their teams. Regular constructive meetings / six monthly performance reviews should take place where the employee has the opportunity to have an honest, open & frank conversation with their manager where SMART objectives are set and any feedback received actioned upon. This should take place in a mutually friendly environment and not the manager’s office or an office where Disciplinaries generally take place.
Depending on the size of the company, a company could also get the team to nominate employee representatives and attend a monthly / quarterly meeting to discuss employee issues in a non-confrontational, anonymous way. An employee survey could also be conducted anonymously if required. However if the company culture is not correct you will still only be told what you want to hear and not the real feelings amongst the team. Too many times business owners / managers are extremely busy and do not have the time to manage correctly which results in a demotivated workforce who ultimately is one of their main business assets.”
The leisurewear company introduced a staff survey system at its Shirebrook warehouse, Derbyshire, which was at the centre of allegations of “gulag” conditions last year after a Guardian investigation.
When the warehouse’s 3,500 workers clock in, they are asked to press a touchpad featuring a happy or sad face Emoji to indicate whether they are satisfied with working conditions.
If they press sad, they are asked whether they are sure about their decision and, if they press it again, they can be called in by managers to discuss why they did so.
Staff can be identified because the touchpad uses fingerprint recognition technology to identify those who express discontent.
Unite said the staff survey system was “bogus” because workers were unlikely to be candid about their feelings if they could then be singled out for questioning.
“Would you risk having hours withheld, possibly losing your job and being called in by management because you indicated dissatisfaction with your work environment?”
Turner described the survey as “a bogus exercise to gloss over past failures and some of the problems” which he said still persisted at the warehouse.
Frank Field, the Labour MP who chairs of the work and pensions select committee, said an anonymous feedback system would be better.
“All it will reveal is how brave some staff are,” he said. “We ought to extend it to MPs and see how they feel about Sports Direct.”
Shirebrook became the focus of a parliamentary inquiry last year after a Guardian investigation revealed dismal working conditions, including body searches, pay below the minimum wage and constant fear of sacking for minor transgressions.
Unite said conditions were still poor and that the “vast majority” of workers were on contracts that guaranteed no more than 336 hours a year.
“With reports from agency workers of crowded aisles, defective warehouse equipment and products stacked dangerously high, we know that health and safety is still a major cause for concern,” said Turner.
“Gimmicks like using Emojis do not escape the fact that Sports Direct’s reliance on thousands of insecure agency workers still poses a reputational risk or that many are still owed money for non-payment of the minimum wage.
“Sports Direct still has a long way to go to clean its act up and risks the charge of ‘business as usual’ until it makes temporary agency workers direct permanent employees.
Sports Direct said it had put in place multiple ways to protect staff and allow them to provide feedback.
“We believe these comments by Unite do not accurately reflect the position at Sports Direct,” said a spokesperson. “We have a range of different measures in place to protect staff. These include a comprehensive system for staff to provide detailed feedback via an initiative called your company, your voice, plus a workers representative who attends meetings of the board.”
Sports Direct also had a “staff listening group, a staff health and safety committee and a staff wellbeing service”, said the spokesperson.
“Whilst we are disappointed with Unite’s stance we will continue to engage with the union, and we recently contacted Unite on this basis.”
If you wish to find out how your employees feel about your company in an appropriate best practice & friendly constructive way, give us a call on 01462 621243 or alternatively fill in our contact form an we will contact you.
Consensus HR – “Helping Companies with their People Solutions”
This is a recent case that took place at an Employment Tribunal in Manchester on the 3rd – 6th April 2017 concerning a Worker who had requested flexible working back in 2012 to cover childcare, which had been agreed by their then Line Manager but his days were then altered in June 2016 without consulting him.
The former postman, Mr Adam Gregory who had worked for Royal Mail since 1993 was unfairly and constructively dismissed when he resigned over a dispute about his shift patterns and a tribunal has decided and awarded him a basic award of £10,577.00 and a compensatory award of £8,486.29 for unfair dismissal & £3,008.43 for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract. Totalling £22,000 – Employment Tribunals Judgment.
Royal Mail also had to pay costs of £4,012.50 and this does not include the cost of employing a Solicitor, which on average is £8,500 per case. (Telegraph – 27th August 2017).
Matthew from Consensus HR states “This case is a perfect example of a company making unilateral changes to a persons Contract of Employment without ensuring the correct consultation takes place with the employees involved. It also demonstrates that the preparation for this exercise was not properly prepared as an employees current Terms & Conditions should be reviewed fully prior to any proposed changes happening. Current variable agreed terms should be identified such as ‘Flexible Working’ & Royal Mail by not preparing & managing this adequately has resulted in this award.
Employers need to ensure it is carried out correctly and not in a way that could be seen as undermining the relationship of mutual trust & confidence between employer & employee.
We would also suggest that a record is kept of variations to contracts and that the employee has accepted them with a signature / date prior to any changes happening even if they are on holiday. If the whole team are going through proposed changes then regular meetings (Consultations) should be held with employees / representatives and adequate minutes taken of what is proposed / covered and who is present. Only when this has been achieved should you proceed to the next step”
An article by Hayley Kirton – People Management Magazine (30th August 2017) discusses the case further:
Mr A Gregory had a daughter from a former marriage and under an access agreement saw her at weekends. Because of this, in 2012, Gregory approached his then line manager to limit his working days to Monday through Friday. The line manager allowed this and Gregory signed a letter acknowledging the new working pattern, but his official employment contract was not changed.
In 2015, Royal Mail started a restructuring exercise, which was likely to change the way duties were carried out at the Burnley office, where Gregory worked. A questionnaire to determine employees’ working preferences was sent out. Gregory was on holiday at the time, so his union representative picked his preferences for him and selected a duty, which would require Gregory to work three Saturdays a month.
When Gregory returned from holiday and discovered what had happened, he objected and submitted a new flexible working request. One of the postman’s managers considered the new request but rejected it, claiming it was partly because the work could not be reorganised among staff. Gregory appealed the decision, but this was also rejected.
Shortly after the failed appeal, around September 2015, the postman took time off sick with stress. In April 2016, while he was still off sick, his solicitor sent Royal Mail a letter to raise a formal grievance on behalf of his client. Royal Mail then acknowledged that Gregory’s contract, as far working hours were concerned, had been altered in 2012.
Gregory returned to work in May 2016 under a phased return and not working Saturdays. However, after Royal Mail sent him a letter in June 2016 confirming he was to work three Saturdays a month, Gregory resigned. Although he initially claimed jobseeker’s allowance, he started working as a painter and decorator in January this year.
Allowing Gregory’s unfair dismissal claim, Judge Holmes said “it was not physically impossible for [Royal Mail] to maintain his Monday to Friday working pattern, it was merely unsatisfactory, inconvenient, and more costly”.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail accepted the findings of the employment tribunal and the judgment has been paid out to the former employee some time ago.”
I you wish to discuss your current Contracts of Employment and any proposal you wish have, please contact us by filling in our ‘Contact Form’ or telephoning us on 01462 621243 to discuss fully your proposals. We are here to help ensure you do not end up with any unwanted fees / awards.