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Ryanair strike confirmed for 15 & 16 July, flights taking off from Charleroi airport affected

Ryanair strike in Belgium 15 & 16 July
17:44 07/07/2023

Belgian-based Ryanair pilots are due to strike on 15 and 16 July, reports RTBF. The confirmed action concerns flights at Brussels South Charleroi Airport.

The low-cost Irish airline had been issued with a strike threat by the Belgian Cockpit Association (BECA) and the Christian unions CNE and ACV.

A deadline has been set for Ryanair to present an acceptable proposal concerning pilots’ salaries. The lack of response by management means aircraft risk being grounded over the holiday weekend. As only flights taking off with Belgian pilots are affected, passengers are advised to check the airport’s website.

Pilots’ are calling for the restoration of a 20% salary reduction that was implemented during the pandemic. Another trigger for the action is the company’s planned modification of cockpit crew’s working hours and resting time. An additional point of contention is Ryanair’s demand to unions that the 50 pilots who filed a complaint against the airline, retract their action.

“The company wants to modify working hours unilaterally, while a collective company agreement is valid until October 2024,"  said Baptiste, CNE union representative and a Ryanair pilot for seven years.

Pilots would lose a rest day from October 2023. "While the summer promises to be busy, we are being asked to accept even more difficult conditions. We will all need to rest after the holidays. The rest days have been calculated so that we are in the best conditions to fly. This situation is unacceptable," he added.

Passengers’ rights

According to consumer association Test Achats/Test Aankoop, the airline should offer alternative flights free of charge to passengers. If the proposed flight does not suit them, they are entitled to demand a refund for their tickets.

As the strike is an internal action and not one by air traffic controllers or baggage handlers, Ryanair cannot invoke force majeure, it points out.

Given the flights are due to be being cancelled less than two weeks before departure, passengers have the right to additional compensation, ranging from €250 to €600, depending on the distance of the flights. This can be claimed directly via the Ryanair site.

According to the state secretary in charge of the budget and consumer protection, Alexia Bertrand, travellers arriving at their final destination with a delay of more than three hours are also entitled to compensation.

If the flight departure time is delayed by at least five hours, the traveller is entitled to an alternative flight or a refund and compensation. "We know that it is not always easy to find where to apply for the additional compensation, and that the delays to obtain it are sometimes long, but it is important to know your rights and to insist on obtaining what is due to you", said Julie Frère, spokesperson for Test Achats.

The consumer organisation can provide passengers with information via its telephone line 0800 29 510 (Monday to Friday from 9.00-18.00).

Written by The Bulletin