London: Ryanair Holdings Plc’s year-long dispute with unions took a bizarre turn, with the release of CCTV footage the discount carrier says shows cabin crew staging a photo of them being forced to sleep on the floor at Spain’s Malaga airport.

The original shot, posted Sunday, October 14, on a Facebook page critical of Ryanair, appeared to depict staff bedded down at the terminal after being stranded by storms, and was accompanied by the suggestion that the company had “left them there”.

Ryanair initially apologised for the situation, saying there’d been no available hotel rooms, before posting the video on October 17 with the claim that the initial image was a “fake photo”. The SNPVAC union, which represents the Portuguese crew, said the picture was an accurate illustration of what had happened, with 24 people left overnight without food, drink or “even a place to sit down”.

The incident comes amid an increasingly fractious clash between Ryanair and staff demanding sweetened contracts after a rostering foul-up forced the Dublin-based company to accept unionisation. Europe’s biggest budget airline has been rocked by strikes over the summer, as CEO Michael O’Leary seeks to minimise the impact on costs.