The strike was announced due to the failure of talks between Ryanair’s management and unions. Negotiations over wages and bonuses for cabin crew, among other things, failed. The unions say the final mediation attempt between employee representatives and management “did not lead to the hoped-for solutions”.
The National Central Staff (CNE) has therefore announced that Ryanair’s cabin crew will stop operating at Zaventem and Charleroi airports next week from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 April.
The three-day strike comes because the Irish low-cost airline is “simply ignoring the basic rights of its Belgian employees,” says Hans Elsen, a representative of Christian trade union ACV Puls. “Despite many mediation attempts, solutions are not forthcoming.”
CNE notes that up to 75 percent of the sector’s workforce is paid minimum wage, “even if they work early, late, and on weekends and holidays.” All this for a lump sum of €2000. Although Ryanair has a profit margin of 30% in Charleroi and is expected to turn a profit of 1 billion euros this year, there is no margin to improve the purchasing power of the workers.”
It is not yet clear what inconvenience will happen to passengers who want to board the plane at the end of next week. However, it seems inevitable that the impact will be significant. About 650 people work for Ryanair at both airports. Note: Ryanair employs about 650 people in Belgium, but does not have a human resources department in our country. According to the unions, this would ensure that wages are not paid correctly. “Some of the employees who are no longer allowed to travel because of pregnancy, for example, have been without wages or benefits for months,” Elsen says.
The pilots are working
In 2018, under pressure from trade unions, the Irish company accepted the application of Belgian labor law and appointed a personnel manager familiar with local legislation. It no longer works. In addition, the collective labor agreement for employees working on board the ship concluded in the spring of 2019 expired at the end of March. This provides a stable monthly income, regardless of the number of trips taken.
The pilots are not participating in the strike, but negotiations are underway for them as well. At the beginning of April, Didier Lippi, a union member of the National Electoral Council, warned that social peace was also uncertain with them.