Anyone who has booked a flight with Brussels Airlines during the Christmas holidays should cross their fingers: cabin crew have issued an indefinite strike notice.
When the strike will occur is not yet clear, but staff threatens to inconvenience during the Christmas holidays. The direct cause, according to the union, is the company’s failure to respect several collective agreements regarding pay and working conditions.
The representatives of the stewards and hostesses of Brussels Airlines are denouncing the management’s failure to consult staff representatives before publishing the staff’s schedules. It also unilaterally changed the entry conditions for the job of the chief purser, while it also failed to comply with the federal law on the right to disconnect.
“Complaints are minimized.”
The unions also don’t put up with the fact that wage agreements from 2020 still apply when the coronavirus crisis led to a restructuring and 1.000 jobs out of about 4.000 were at stake. Since then, the company has presented better financial results and had the most profitable summer ever.
“The airline management is simply not listening to the staff” is how the union sums up the tenor for the social unrest at Brussels Airlines. “There is a lot of frustration among staff. The workload and lack of rest remain, while complaints are minimized.”
The union understands that a strike – the staff targets the Christmas holidays – is not a pleasant message for passengers. “It is not nice for the travelers, but that is not the worker’s fault. It is the employers’,” the union says. “Unfortunately, sometimes a strike is the only option.”
“Determined to find solutions”
In a reaction, Brussels Airlines says it is surprised by the unions’ communication. The company says it contains demands that have not been put on the table before. Brussels Airlines also says it has complied and will always comply with its legal obligations.
“The management of Brussels Airlines remains determined to find solutions,” Brussels Airlines says. “Solutions that work long-term, both to remain an attractive employer and keep our costs under control in a very competitive market. Further talks with the social partners are scheduled shortly. The management will join the table to look for constructive solutions,” the company says.
In June, Brussels Airlines canceled 148 flights last year to meet staff demands and ease the workload.