Michael O’Leary, CEO of budget carrier Ryanair, lashed out at his airline’s Belgian employees over an upcoming day of international solidarity action calling on them to “shut up and go to work.”
O’Leary’s comments came during a shareholders’ meeting attended by Francophone daily La Libre, who questioned O’Leary about an international day of solidarity action slated for 27 September and which Belgian staff recently announced they could join.
The solidarity action is planned in several European countries, such as the United Kingdom and Spain, in response to corporate plans announced over the summer which would see nearly a thousand employees fired from their jobs.
“I tell them: if you want to show solidarity with the employees in the United Kingdom, Portugal, or Spain, shut up and work normally,” O’Leary said, according to the outlet.
Additional reports in Belgian media say that O’Leary doubled down on his criticism of Belgian staff and unions and by firing out scathing criticism of Belgium.
“Ah Belgium, I don’t have enough time to explain everything that is wrong with your country,” O’Leary said, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
“You have great football players, like Kevin de Bruyne or Vincent Kompany… But your unions? They have a very strange way of life,” he said, before adding: “Striking is a national hobby in Belgium — it’s a favourite pastime,” according to the Dutch-speaking outlet.