The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) express its firm solidarity with our Belgian affiliates – SETCa, ACV Transcom, CNE – Puls and ACLVB – in Brussels Airlines who are facing unprecedented attacks from the company, in its desperate attempts to confiscate their right to strike.
‘It is utterly unacceptable for the Brussels Airlines to use such a dirty attack against its own workers. There seems to be no limit in the company’s threats from Friday to put the cost of a strike they are legally entitled to organise on the worker’s shoulders,’ stated Frank Moreels, the ETF President.
‘We are talking about the same workers who sacrificed their personal lives and health to help the Belgian air company go through the challenges generated by the pandemic. We will not give in in front of these dirty intimidations meant to silence the workers and determine them to give up on their fundamental right to strike’, added Livia Spera the ETF General Secretary.
On Friday, 16 December 2021, the company announced its intention to try and break the strike using other crew and airplanes from elsewhere in the Lufthansa Group. Our fellow European transport unions stand in solidarity and will not give in to such tactics.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the trade unions and the Belgian airline company agreed to temporarily suspend specific rostering contracts to allow the airline to use abnormal rosters for the duration of the COVID pandemic. After multiple attempts and months of negotiating the return to the pre-COVID agreement, the Brussels Airlines management team still refuses to give the aviation workers the old conditions back. The decision of a 24-hour strike was taken last week after the unions tried to convince the Brussels Airlines management to adjust their working conditions and demanded the respect of agreements, they had signed in early 2021.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the key role the civil aviation workers played to save people’s lives and guarantee our communities’ safety was praised repeatedly. We demand that Brussels Airlines engage immediately and in good faith to reopen the negotiations with SETCa, ACV Transcom, CNE – Puls, and ACLVB as unions representing its workforce and find together a fair settlement.
Frank Moreels, the ETF President, explains:
‘Our transport workers simply ask to have decent working conditions, where their work-life balance is not completely compromised, where social supports are not excessively used to the detriment of the workers, practically condemning them to poverty, while flights are being cancelled due to lack of personnel.’
We promise to closely follow the situation while also mobilising our aviation affiliates into solidarity with our colleagues in Belgium.