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Brussels Airlines staff to strike on Monday, ‘severe disruptions’ expected
On-board staff of Brussels Airlines have announced a strike on 20 December, which will “severely disrupt” flights schedules at Brussels Airport, according to a spokesperson. The 24-hour strike begins at 5.00 on Monday.
Three unions representing pilots and cabin personnel have called the strike, which will take place on the first day of the Christmas school holiday, which was moved up a week because of the pandemic. It is a busy day for the airline, chosen by unions to create maximum impact.
Unions cite a lack of will on the part of management to ease the workload, which has been plaguing pilots and cabin staff for far too long, they say. While less intrusive protests have taken place up until now, the situation has become untenable and so unions say strikes like this are the only way forward.
They have announced the strike in advance, says SETCa union spokesperson Olivier Van Camp, “so that Brussels Airlines can take the necessary measures, and travellers can look for another flight. We really don’t want to inconvenience the passengers. The problem lies with management. We need to send a message to the parent company in Germany.”
Brussels Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group. The airline’s workers are concerned not just about being overworked but about compensation packages, which they say are far more advantageous to some workers than to others. They also feel a general lack of respect from management, says Van Camp.
As for management, a spokesperson says it is “shocked” by the unions intention to strike, emphasising what a disastrous period it has been for the travel sector and that talks were heading in the right direction. “We are looking into what the exact impact will be and will inform our customers,” said the spokesperson. “Our priority is taking care of the travellers.”
While the strike concerns cabin personnel, there is also a chance that employees from other departments will join in solidarity. How many flights will be cancelled or delayed is not yet clear.
Photo: Brussels Airlines workers staged a protest during the presentation of the company’s new logo last month