Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary wins ITUC’s World’s Worst Boss Poll

Michael O’Leary was announced as winner of the world’s worst boss at the 4th International Trade Union Confederation World Congress in Copenhagen. The ITUC, representing 207 million workers, is meeting in Copenhagen with more than 1200 delegates from 132 countries.

The ten men who made the 2018 shortlist run companies with business models that exploit workers through low wages and insecure jobs that deny people’s rights to form and join a union and collectively bargain. Instead of taking responsibility for the workers on whom they rely for their profits, companies are outsourcing the risks of the job to workers themselves in sham self-employed contracts.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, said:

“We are taking the fight for workers’ rights to these companies one by one and we are winning. Companies like Marriott, who this week reached a tentative settlement with Unite, ending the largest multi-city hotel strike in the USA. Companies like Samsung who have now opened up a conversation with unions. We’re putting companies like Amazon on notice that as they continue to treat workers like robots, and deny workers’ their union rights, their monopoly power will be broken up.

“The 2018 winner goes to a man who for the last 30 years said ‘hell would freeze over’ before there would be unions in his company. A man who built his company on a low-cost, low-wage business model which exploits workers. Who says flexibility is the key to his success. A man who fired workers for forming a union. A man who faced the biggest walkouts in the company’s history this year.”

Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation, said:

“It’s no surprise Michael O’Leary has been named as the 2018 Worst Boss in the World. He’s been promoting unfair employment practices since the start of Ryanair. There have been nine strikes in Europe as the men and women who work for the airline said enough – we are not accepting this treatment any more. People want dignity in the workplace, and the ITF will do everything we can to fight for the right of Ryanair workers and to get good collective bargaining agreements.

“One year ago Ryanair agreed to recognise unions – and now we have 50 per cent recognition or dialogue. There is 50 per cent to go and we won’t stop until every worker has rights, a decent job and safe working conditions. With this award, the global trade union movement is sending a message to Michael O’Leary – we’re coming to make sure your workers have dignity, self-respect, health and safety at work.”

The 2018 World’s Worst Boss poll included:

  • Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com
  • Vincent Bolloré, Chairman and CEO Bolloré
  • Ivan Glasenberg, CEO Glencore
  • Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO Uber
  • Lee Kun-hee, Chairman Samsung Group
  • Doug McMillon, President and CEO Walmart Inc.
  • Michael O’Leary, CEO Ryanair
  • Will Shu, Co-Founder and CEO Deliveroo
  • Arne Sorenson, President and CEO Marriott International
  • Harvey Weinstein, former CEO Weinstein Company and founder Miramax

For more information, contact Gemma Swart at +32 479 06 41 63 gemma.swart@ituc-csi.org (English) or Theo Morrissey at +32 499 14 56 95 theo.morrissey@ituc-csi.org (English, French, Spanish).