Ryanair withdraws threat to lay off 176 Belgian employees
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Ryanair withdraws threat to lay off 176 Belgian employees

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The Irish low-cost airline cancelled its plans to lay off 176 of its 360 cabin crew employees in Belgium after reaching an agreement with staff to reduce their wages instead.

Ryanair first threatened to eliminate the jobs after Belgian workers rejected an initial proposal for wage reduction.

Employees in a number of other European countries were in a similar position with the airline. Salary reductions were accepted by employees in Germany and Italy, but unions in Spain and Portugal resisted the measure, as did Belgium at first.

The newly drafted agreement calls for the highest salaried cabin crew employees to accept an 8.3% decrease in their wages, but be granted 19 extra vacation days.

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Pilots already accepted a salary reduction of 20% several months ago.

“We managed to save 176 jobs,” Hans Elsen, union representative of ACV Puls which represents the workers, told De Standaard. “This is an incredible relief for the staff after having lived in uncertainty for eight months.”

Although its workforce is on temporary unemployment, Ryanair has used the coronavirus crisis to cut costs significantly across Europe, including eliminating 3,000 jobs.

Ryanair is active in Zaventem and Charleroi, with a total of 500 people employed between the two.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times