'Nothing is changing': Brussels Airlines pilots give notice of strike action in December

'Nothing is changing': Brussels Airlines pilots give notice of strike action in December
Credit: David Stockman / Belga

Days after Brussels Airlines cabin crew announced an indefinite strike, the airline's pilots have also now threatened strike action from 11 December, trade unions say.

While Brussels Airlines is posting record results, nothing is going well on the social front. Last Friday, cabin crew of the Belgian airline announced indefinite strike action from Thursday 23 November, targeting the Christmas holidays. The airline's pilots have now followed suit, starting from 11 December.

Talks with management are still planned for the end of November for both pilots and flight attendants, but "the pilots intend to strike if there is no solution to a number of problems," noted Jolinde Defieuw of Flemish trade union ACV Puls. "The problems mainly concern work pressure and a lack of rest."

"We have been making demands for two years, particularly in terms of rest periods, and nothing is changing," lamented Olivier Van Camp, Permanent Secretary of socialist union SETCa. "We cannot wait any longer."

In a letter sent to the pilots, the unions explained that if management refuses to meet their demands, they will go on strike on 11 December until their demands are met.

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"Nothing has been officially decided yet," says Van Camp. "But we want to force management back to the negotiating table. We will be deciding whether to issue strike notice in the next few days."

The final straw came when pilots' timetables were announced for the busy end-of-year period. "The problem is not that Brussels Airlines is short of pilots, but that there is a major problem with the management of human resources and particularly with the timetables," commented the SETCa representative. "This company is very badly managed."

Brussels Airlines said it was surprised by the announcement of the strike notice, but was also ready for dialogue.

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