Belgian pilots to take Ryanair to court over unfair wage cuts

Belgian pilots to take Ryanair to court over unfair wage cuts
Credit: Belga

Following a summer of strikes in which those working in the aviation sector showed their discontent with working conditions, 48 Ryanair pilots based in Belgium are now looking to take their employer to court over a wage disagreement.

The pilots are hoping that labour courts in Brussels and Charleroi will annul an earlier pay cut and force a retroactive wage indexation to bring salaries back to pre-pandemic levels, according to reports from De Standaard.

As demand for flights dropped as a result of pandemic restrictions in 2020, pilots agreed to surrender 20% of their pay under the condition that it would be restored to its previous level after the health crisis.

But this promise has not been honoured the pilots say, despite the fact that the low-cost airline has said it is now operating more flights than before the pandemic and has been eyeing billions in profits.

The Christian trade union has argued that the airline was blackmailing employees by threatening collective redundancies and presenting the pay cut as a means of "helping save the company during the biggest crisis in aviation since the Second World War."

"But in reality, the wage cuts were not used to maintain employment," union representative Hans Elsen said.

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Aside from raising wages back to pre-pandemic levels, the union and pilots are also calling for a wage indexation in light of the skyrocketing inflation.

The Belgian Ryanair pilots already tried to enforce their demands twice by striking, but since the last action in July, the management and the pilots did not negotiate anymore, according to ACV Puls. The company has since threatened to leave the country in light of the actions.

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