Brussels Airlines' pilots announce surprise 24-hour strike from Saturday

Brussels Airlines' pilots announce surprise 24-hour strike from Saturday
Credit: Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines pilots will commence a 24-hour strike from 05:00 on Saturday 13 January.

Pilots are protesting the airline's decision to appeal a 2019 court ruling that concerned a cafeteria plan which granted extra-legal benefits to workers on top of salaries. Trade unions say management is now refusing to index the agreed amount, therefore reducing pilots' purchasing power.

"Management hasn’t kept its promises," stated Olivier Van Camp from socialist trade union BBTK. "We're talking about thousands of euro a year that have not been indexed, even though the cost of living has sky-rocketed. It's no small change."

The 'wildcat' strike – an initiative led by workers without trade unions' prior approval – is supported by three unions.

'A warning'

Brussels Airlines belongs to the German aviation group Lufthansa, and Van Camp is critical of the decision-making power the company holds over working conditions for Belgian employees.

He warns that this strike may be the first of many if workers' grievances are not addressed. "It is management that is taking passengers hostage, not Brussels Airlines staff," he said.

Brussels Airlines regrets the strike and apologises to passengers for any inconvenience caused. It has set up a taskforce to evaluate the impact of the strike on air traffic and on passengers, and did not wish to comment on the social dispute.

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