Brussels Airlines’ restructuring plan: social agreement reached
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    Brussels Airlines’ restructuring plan: social agreement reached

    Credit: Brussels Airlines

    At Brussels Airlines, the management and the three unions have reached an agreement in principle about the restructuring that was announced in May.

    After six weeks of negotiations, a preliminary agreement was reached on a social plan for the downsizing, on a new remuneration structure for those who remain on board, and on an adjustment of the flight crew’s schedules.

    How many people will eventually lose their job is not entirely clear. On 12 May, the airline announced its intention to dismiss some 1,000 employees, about a quarter of its workforce.

    Anyone still staying on board will likely have to deal with a pay cut. The measures are necessary to increase the competitiveness of Brussels Airlines, the management said.

    The agreement will now be presented to the company’s staff. On Friday, the social plan will be put on the table at a special works council. “We have negotiated very intensively and I think we can still be satisfied with the result,” Filip Lemberechts of trade union ACLVB told De Tijd.

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    The trade unions have strongly advocated a voluntary departure scheme, and quite a few employees would be willing to leave the company voluntarily, they said. How many employees that will be exactly, will only be clear in a few weeks’ time. The number of people who will get fired will depend on that.

    “We took responsibility, now it’s up to the government and Lufthansa,” Paul Buekenhout of the ACV Puls union told Het Nieuwsblad.

    After all, the plan stands or falls with its financing, the trade unions stress. “If the financing does not go through, we have a problem,” said Lemberechts. “But I am not assuming that.”

    A shareholders’ meeting will be held at parent company Lufthansa on Thursday. The shareholders will then be presented with the German government’s €9 billion rescue plan.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times