Belgian Red Devils must refuse to fly with airline company KlasJet

7 Jun 2021

The Red Devils are set to take off this Friday for the UEFA European Football Championship with a plane from the Lithuanian company Klasjet. In a letter, the European Transport Workers’ Federation asks them not to. KlasJet is a carrier that practices social dumping and pays its staff wages well below Belgian standards. The ETF calls on the Belgian national team to “Take a stand for the transport workers of Europe by refusing to fly with KlasJet.”

ETF’s Letter to the Belgian National Football Team, signed by Frank Moreels, ETF President and Livia Spera, ETF General Secretary:

Belgium has many reasons to be proud: fries, waffles, great comics, beautiful art, architecture and landscapes, and you – one of the best football teams in the world.

Another thing Belgium should take pride in is its strong workers’ rights regime and its history of providing its workers with decent wages and conditions.

Ahead of your departure to the UEFA European Football Championship, I’m writing this letter to you in my capacity as the General Secretary of the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF), which represents over 5 million workers in all transport modes throughout Europe, to bring your attention to something which you should not be proud of – the undermining of decent wages and conditions for transport workers in your name.

After years of travelling on unionised Belgian carriers, KlasJet is the carrier which has been chartered to take you around Europe this summer. This charter carrier has a European flavour which is too bitter for its workers and us to accept. Based in Vilnius, Lithuania, it exploits the European single market and its employees, paying between €540 and €1300 a month to its cabin crew to fly you from Belgium to Russia, Denmark and beyond for you to play your matches. The truth behind this wage is that these workers will only receive what is called “flying pay”, a payment based on the amount of time spent in the air where if they do not fly they are not entitled to anything. What’s more, the maximum to be achieved, €1300, is still €500 less than the statutory minimum available to cabin crew in Belgium. This is a blatant case of what the ETF fights hard against – the (unfortunately all too common) practice of social dumping. Social dumping is the business practice of abusing the opportunities offered by the European single market. Although your plane won’t be touching down in Lithuania, your cabin crew will be paid at Lithuanian rates, considerably lower than the €1800 per month minimum for cabin crew in Belgium. This allows KlasJet to undercut hard-earned Belgian labour standards and regulations.

At this European Championship, the transport workers of Belgium will be taking a stand and cheering for you at your matches. We, the European Transport Workers’ Federation, ask that you take a stand for the transport workers of Europe and refuse to deal with KlasJet and refuse to take this carrier around Europe.

For more information please contact:
Begüm Boynukalin, ETF Communications Officer
Mobile Phone: (+32) 478 79 40 53
Email: b.boynukalin@etf-europe.org

Note to the editor:

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) embraces transport trade unions from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Central and Eastern Europe. The ETF represents more than 5 million transport workers from more than 200 transport unions and 41 European countries. Our vision is fair transport.

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