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    Brussels Airlines pilots announce strikes next week

    ©Brussels Airlines
    ©Brussels Airlines

    Unions representing the pilots of Brussels Airlines have called for strike action on Monday and Wednesday next week, leaving the airline with the problem of an expected 34,000 passengers on Monday alone. The unions are unsatisfied with a package of measures put on the table by the company, which includes a 3% pay increase in 2019 and the possibility of a similar increase the year after; extra days off for pilots over the age of 60; and recognition of the jobs of flight personnel as heavy jobs, which brings extra rights regarding hours worked and more.

    “We called on management earlier this week to come forward with a concrete proposal, but at the meeting they had nothing,” commented Paul Buekenhout of the LBC-NVK union.“We can’t wait forever.”

    Brussels Airlines describes the unions’ demands as “unrealistic”.

    “They’re holding to their 12-point plan, but that would mean a 25% increase in salary costs,” said spokesperson Kim Daenen. “That’s impossible for the future of the company. We’re getting the feeling that what the crew-room wants is not entirely in line with what the unions are demanding.”

    Brussels Airlines advises that passengers who have tickets for flights on 14 and 16 May can change their reservations free of charge, or ask for a full refund. Passengers who booked through a travel agency should contact the agency itself. In the meantime, the company is working on an alternative schedule.

    Brussels Airlines pilots are not quick to strike, the VRT reports. Only once before in the company’s 16-year existence did they go on strike, for one day five years ago.

    Alan Hope
    Brussels Times