A strike notice has been submitted for the cabin crew of low-cost airline Ryanair in Belgium. This was learned from the Christian trade union. Actions are already possible in the coming days.
The concrete reason for the strike notice is that negotiations on a new collective labour agreement on wages and premiums for cabin crew have not yet led to an agreement, says Hans Elsen of ACV Puls.
The old collective labour agreement expired at the end of March. The first collective labor agreement for cabin crew in Belgium was concluded in the spring of 2019, after Ryanair agreed to apply Belgian labour law. The collective labour agreement provided, among other things, for a fixed monthly income, regardless of how much the flight attendants and stewards fly.
‘Room for better conditions’
In the negotiations on a new collective labour agreement, the positions are still far apart. “Ryanair believes it is in a crisis, while we believe that the company’s current profit forecast offers room for better conditions for cabin crew,” said Elsen.
In addition to the collective labour agreement negotiations, there is also dissatisfaction because Ryanair still does not respect a number of “basic conditions” after three years under the Belgian flag. For example, there are problems with the dimona declarations, says Elsen. These are the electronic messages with which the employer declares every entry into and termination of employment of an employee with the RSZ. And the mandatory annual medical check-ups must be paid by the employees out of their own pocket.
“We want to give Ryanair another chance to negotiate seriously,” Elsen said, according to a report by BRUZZ. If the company does not do this, “a strike can be started in the course of the next week”. This may be done in consultation with French colleagues, because there is also a strike notice in France.
According to the trade unionist, Ryanair employs about 400 stewards and flight attendants at the airports of Charleroi and Zaventem. The notice does not apply to the pilots, for whom the collective labour agreement negotiations are still ongoing.
The last strike at Ryanair in Belgium dates from September 2018. There were a total of four strike days during that period, during which dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed. Ryanair recently reached an amicable settlement with consumer organisation Test Aankoop over compensation for the approximately 33,000 passengers affected by these actions.
Test Aankoop filed a class action against the Irish low-cost airline in July 2019 for refusing to reimburse injured passengers.