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Brussels Airlines cuts 148 flights from summer timetable
Brussels Airlines will cut 148 flights this summer to reduce the workload on staff, the airline has announced.
“Over five weeks, we are going to withdraw 74 round trips from the flight schedule. It’s a gesture that we are making in order to relieve staff,” it said.
The decision to cancel some flights follows a conciliation meeting with trade unions on Tuesday that ended without an agreement, reports RTBF. It was the final stage in negotiations before unions filed a strike notice concerning cabin crew’s rest time and work schedule.
Following the decision by the airline, the unions said they would consult their membership in the coming days and decide next week on possible actions.
The flights dropped from Brussels Airlines’ summer timetable concern European destinations for which it can offer alternative flights via partner companies.
Passengers concerned by the cancellations will be contacted directly by Brussels Airlines. The spokesperson said less than 1% of passengers would be affected and that the decision was not linked to a lack of staff.
Unions fear another ‘complicated’ summer
Cabin crew find it increasingly difficult to continue to work under the terms of the collective labour agreement "imposed" during the first coronavirus wave, according to Christian union CNE’s permanent secretary Didier Lebbe.
He said staff had made efforts in terms of salaries and flexibility during the pandemic. Many of them normally deployed on intercontinental flights were now flying European routes as long-haul traffic was taking longer to recover from the effects of the health crisis.
With the demand for travel picking up again, problems had arisen in terms of flight time and rest, according to Lebbe. He said the company did not wish to modify these rest times during the conciliation meeting on Tuesday, despite the change in market conditions.
The unions feared reliving a complicated summer in terms of workload and rest times, similar to the one experienced in 2021. Pilots are also unhappy with the current situation, although their demands concern pay.
Worker representatives will meet with delegates on Thursday and consult with staff in the coming days before deciding next week on possible actions. If a strike notice is filed after this period, it could lead to a work stoppage at the airline in late June or early July.