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Ryanair drops plan to cut 176 jobs in Belgium

22:15 06/03/2021

A threat from Irish low-cost airline Ryanair to lay off 176 people in Belgium has ended - as management and unions reached a draft agreement.

Rather than lose their jobs, part of the cabin crew will see a drop of 8% of their salaries. The wage decrease is for the higher-wage categories of the cabin crew (the stewards and flight attendants). A few months ago, the pilots already agreed to a wage drop of roughly 20%.

On the other hand, management promises to convert 50 temporary positions to permanent status, and the cabin crew will receive 19 extra days of paid holiday. Additionally the airline has also pledged to apply the 2019 and 2020 wage indexations retroactively.

Ryanair, like all other airlines, has been severely affected by the pandemic. The airline has already cut costs considerably, including personnel cuts. For the whole of Europe, this involved some 3,000 employees. In a number of countries, agreements have also been made for wage cuts.

In Belgium, an agreement was reached with the pilots in September, but talks with cabin crew dragged on for nine months. Ryanair increased the threat of the number of jobs at risk several times, reaching the 176 number in January.

Trade unionist Hans Elsen of ACV Puls said: "We are very pleased that, with this agreement, we can close a large period of uncertainty for the staff.

"We hope that Ryanair will now also live up to these commitments. That is why this draft agreement will only be converted into a final agreement once, among other things, the indexations from the past are applied retroactively."

The airline is active in Belgium at the airports of Charleroi and Zaventem, with a total of approximately 500 employees.

Written by Richard Harris