Ryanair will let go 84 members of staff in Belgium as part of thousands of layoffs planned by the company throughout Europe.
Overall, 44 pilots and 40 flights attendants based in Belgium will get the axe, unions announced on Thursday.
The layoffs come after the airline failed to pressure workers to accept pay cuts by threatening them with dismissals, and coincides with the relaunch of nearly 100 Belgian routes since 1 July.
The budget carrier, Europe’s leading airline in terms of the number of passengers carried, had asked pilots to surrender 20% of their salary, while cabin crew were asked to forego 10% of their wages.
Ryanair issue a similar request to workers across Europe and managed to get its Ireland-based pilots to accept 20% wage reduction over the next four years.
News of the 84 dismissals follows an announcement by Ryanair at the beginning of May that it would cut 3,000 jobs as it seeks to keep its head above the water throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Union representatives in Belgium called out the airline, saying the move was an attempt to forego its employer responsibilities and put cabin crews in competition with each other.
“[Among] crews who accept [the pay cuts], there will be fewer dismissals,” Didier Lebbe, representative for the CNE Christian union told Le Soir.
As the airline attempted to push through the paycuts, unions called out Ryanair for recurring to temporary unemployment schemes while failing to uphold its side of the deal with federal employment office ONEM.
“Rynair also benefitting from putting pilots and cabin crew on temporary unemployment,” Hans Elsen of the Flemish ACV Puls union said. “But the company still has not lived up to its obligations with the ONEM, by blocking the benefits to be transferred to the employees.”
“The situation is really beginning to be critical for cabin crew staff,” Elsen added.
The dismissal of the 84 Belgium-based staff members will trigger the Renault law for collective dismissals, which aims to guarantee a dialogue between management and employees.
The Brussels Times