Cabin staff end Ryanair strike but unions warn of "difficult summer"
The three-day strike by Ryanair's Belgium-based cabin crew was “well observed” according to the unions involved, report RTBF and Bruzz. The French-speaking Christian employee union CSC and its Flemish counterpart ACV Puls now expect a response from management within the week.
The strike, which began on Friday and finished at midnight on Sunday, was called in protest against the lack of progress in discussions on a new collective agreement concerning cabin crew salaries and bonuses. All staff were due to return to work on Monday.
“All flights operated by crews based at Charleroi Airport and Brussels Airport were cancelled," said Didier Lebbe, the permanent secretary of the CSC.
Ryanair had to cancel some 280 flights to and from the airports of Charleroi and Zaventem and called the action "a useless strike that will disrupt the travel plans of thousands of passengers".
The unions now expect a response from the airline’s management this week. "Our action was a strong signal,” said Hans Elsen of ACV Puls. “There was a very great willingness to take action on the part of the staff. We are now assuming a proposal from the management next week but have not heard anything yet."
"It has been six months since we put a proposal on the table and nothing is progressing,” added Didier Lebbe. “This weekend, despite the strike, we had no contact with the management."
While the unions blame the breakdown in talks on Ryanair, the company accused the union of having "abandoned negotiations" and having launched a "unilateral strike".
"The CSC claims to want to 'teach a lesson' to Ryanair, but unfortunately it's Ryanair's customers who are disturbed and affected by these unnecessary strikes," the management said in a statement on Thursday.
No further action is planned for the moment but the CSC plans to organise a meeting in Brussels with other European unions "to see how to coordinate a European strike next summer," warned Didier Lebbe.
Consultations with Ryanair are difficult, Hans Elsen admitted. "It is difficult, not only in Belgium but also in other countries," he said. “Without a decent proposal from the management, it could be a difficult summer for Ryanair, not only in Belgium."