Ryanair staff tear hair out over weekly drugs test

May 25, 2011

, BRUSSELS, May 25 – Ryanair staff in Belgium are literally tearing their hair out at a sudden surge in testing for cannabis use, Belgian media reported Wednesday.

"Every week, a nurse comes from Ireland and takes stewards and stewardesses into an office where they cut hair samples for drug tests," an employee who wanted to remain anonymous told L\’Avenir daily, which covers the region that includes the Charleroi airport used by Ryanair.

The controls were bi-annual, but have been conducted three times in the past three weeks, Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara confirmed.

The controls are "stipulated in staff contracts," he said, citing "passenger security" reasons.

McNamara said personnel who refuse to comply could face "sanctions," although Belgian Transport Minister Etienne Schouppe criticised the "exaggerated" practice on RTBF public radio.

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