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Brussels Airlines : Risk of flight disruption over Christmas as cabin crew file indefinite strike notice

13:53 19/11/2023

Brussels Airlines faces potential disruption to its Christmas holiday flight schedule following the filing of an indefinite strike notice by cabin crew.

The strike notice takes effect from November 23, announced Didier Lebbe, permanent secretary of the francophone Christian union CNE.

According to the union, the airline has failed to respect various collective labour agreements, report local media.

Cabin crew said the company’s management did not consult staff representatives before publishing their schedules and access conditions to the position of cabin supervisor were unilaterally altered.

A persistent point of contention for unions are the salary agreements introduced in 2020 when a restructuring process occurred due to the pandemic, and that remain in place.

Following the most profitable summer ever for Brussels Airlines, the company is now in a better financial position. At the beginning of November, the carrier reported a turnover up 10% in the third quarter, amounting to €478 million, compared to €436 million in the same period last year, reports RTBF.

Management does not listen to the staff, said Jolinde Defieuw of the union ACV Puls, reports Bruzz. "There’s a lot of frustration among the staff. The workload and lack of rest remain, while complaints are minimised."

Although there are no precise dates for the strike action, “staff are aiming for the Christmas holidays," said unions.

"Striking during Christmas is an option. That's not fun for the traveller. But that is not the fault of the employees, but of the employer. Unfortunately, sometimes striking is the only option," concluded Defieuw.

Brussels Airlines reacted with surprise to the unions’ announcement. It said it had complied with legal obligations at all times and would continue to do so.

"The management of Brussels Airlines remains determined to find solutions. Solutions that work in the long term, both to remain an attractive employer and to keep our costs under control in a highly competitive market. Further talks with the social partners are planned shortly. The management will join the table in looking for constructive solutions," the company said.

Photo : ©Brussels Airlines

Written by The Bulletin