Unions representing staff at Brussels Airlines are insisting on direct talks with the Belgian carrier’s CEO, Peter Gerber, following a three-day strike.
They have also applauded workers’ response to the strike, which began on Thursday by pilots and cabin crews. It forced the airline to cancel about 60% of the over 500 flights it had programmed, affecting about 40,000 passengers.
The unions, CNE/ACV Puls, Setca/BBTK and CGSLB/ACLVB, welcomed the high level of motivation of the airline’s employees and their readiness to denounce their working conditions, as they did in recent days. They said they were now waiting for an initiative from management.
"We have sent them a letter in which we are now demanding discussions with Peter Gerber, the Brussels Airlines' CEO,” CNE Permanent Secretary Diddier Lebbe said, while also deploring the fact that the CEO has been absent from talks with the unions so far.
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No meeting has been planned thus far between the unions and the airline's German CEO.
The conflict between unions and management at Brussels Airlines has been dragging on since last summer when staff had complained about excessively heavy workloads.
Workers denounced this situation at a first strike, held in December 2021, but the workload increased when tourism bounced back in the post-COVID period. As a result, staff are exhausted and are calling for their workloads to be lightened.
Since then, the joint trade union front, comprising CNE, Setca, CGSLB and their Flemish counterparts, served notice for an unlimited strike by stewards, hostesses and pilots at Brussels Airlines, and has threatened further action if workers’ calls are not heard.