Ryanair threatens to leave Belgium over pilot strikes

Ryanair threatens to leave Belgium over pilot strikes
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary pictured during a press conference of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, Tuesday 14 June 2022 in Brussels. Credit: Belga / Noe Zimmer

Issues in the travel sector continue to dominate headlines this summer. But even as the Belgian pilot's union is calling for new strikes on 23 and 24 July, Ryanair has announced it will do nothing to prevent the walkout and has even threatened to leave Belgian airports, reports Le Soir.

When the Belgian pilot's union called for a new strike, Ryanair's management sent a threatening letter to pilot unions based in Belgium, stressing a lack of understanding of the strike.

"If your only tactic is to deny that you ever signed an agreement, refuse to negotiate and continue to call a strike to try to undermine the 2020 agreement that you negotiated, then there is no hope of a deal and you will eventually have to explain to the pilots why they have to waste money on strikes and why the activity will eventually leave Belgian airports."

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The Irish low-cost company has labour agreements with 90% of its staff across Europe. The letter implies that Belgian pilots have become more 'demanding' after the company claimed to show good faith by being open to the possibility of following Belgium's wage indexation.

“80% of the pilots in our network are now covered by new negotiated long-term agreements, including accelerated salary restoration. You state that your position is that you will never sign a similar agreement in Belgium. Again, if that is your position, so be it, but you will be on strike for a very long time, harming business and undermining investment in Belgium, which accounts for 3% of our operations. »

Failing negotiations

Ryanair workers have gone on strike for better wages and working conditions. Employees say that the airline does not respect local law on the minimum wage and call on the Ryanair management to make working conditions better.

Ryanair bosses and unions are arguing via letter exchanges, and so far, nothing is coming out of their negotiations. The low-cost airline has made clear that it will do nothing to prevent the strike, even though there is a week left to prevent it.

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