Failed negotiations: Ryanair cabin crew threaten strike

Failed negotiations: Ryanair cabin crew threaten strike
Credit: Belga

Ryanair has been issued a strike notice by Christian trade union ACV Puls, which says that the airline continues to "violate the rights of its employees."

Strike actions could start as early as next week at both Charleroi and Brussels airports if the low-cost airline fails to take part in negotiations on a new collective agreement on wages and premiums for cabin crews, which have so far not yet led to an agreement.

"We want to give Ryanair another chance to negotiate seriously. If the company does not do so, then there could be a strike as early as next week," Hans Elsen of the trade union ACV Puls told Belga News Agency. The timing of the strike could disrupt plans for the Easter holidays.

The previous collective labour agreement expired at the end of March; no new one has been made. Meanwhile, the trade union laments the fact that, three years after agreeing to apply Belgian labour law, Ryanair is still not respecting a number of "basic conditions," including updates to the payroll system and issuing Belgian payslips.

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Elsen added that working conditions are unacceptable. For instance, Ryanair does not consider a medical check-up to be working hours, meaning these costs are deducted from the wages. Despite being entitled to drinking water during work, as stipulated by Belgian law, cabin crew must pay for water just like customers.

Strike history

According to ACV Puls, Ryanair employs some 400 stewards and stewardesses at the airports of Charleroi and Zaventem. The announcement does not apply to the pilots, for whom the collective bargaining is still ongoing. Cabin crew in France are also threatening strike action.

The last Ryanair strikes in Belgium were in 2018 during which a total of four strike days were organised. This led to dozens of flights being cancelled or delayed.

In December last year, it was decided that Ryanair would compensate more than 33,000 passengers that were affected by the cancellation or delay of 172 Belgian Ryanair flights in 2018, in light of the class action filed by consumer rights association Test Achats in 2019.

Ryanair did not respond to The Brussels Times' request for comment before the time of publication.

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