There is no place in Belgium for breaching the aviation workers’ rights

22 Apr 2022

‘There is no place in Belgium for breaching the aviation workers’ rights’, warns once again the ETF president, Frank Moreels, in his solidarity message today, addressed to the Belgian cabin crew members from Ryanair striking in Brussels Airport – Zaventem and Charleroi.

The Belgian cabin crew working for the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair are on strike from today until the 24th of April, after the negotiations with Ryanair management on a new collective agreement on wages have miserably failed. The previous collective labour agreement expired at the end of March, leaving the staff with a fixed low income, regardless of the number of flights operated.

Moreover, the trade unions representing the Ryanair Belgian workers – CNE and ACV Puls – are proving that Ryanair is still not applying some fundamental legal working rights of the 650 employees three years after agreeing with Ryanair to apply the Belgian labour law.

There is no excuse for a company with a margin of profit of 30% only in Charleroi to pay two-thirds of its Belgium employees with the sectoral minimum wage; while their workers have impossible work schedules, with no weekends or no public holidays off’, states Frank Moreels. ‘It is illegal to pay the salaries with delays, or still have incomplete payments’ he continues, ‘as it is also contrary to the Belgian law that Ryanair obliges the cabin crew to pay for water while working, just like the regular passengers.

Livia Spera, General Secretary at ETF, added: ‘Ryanair has no shame and no respect for any law, and not for its employees. Otherwise, how could they leave the women employees who are no longer allowed to fly because of pregnancy, without any pay or benefits for months?

Ryanair has around 400 cabin crew working at Charleroi and Zaventem airports. With the most recent Ryanair four-day strike in Belgium from 2018, dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed.

At the ETF, we are determined to keep Ryanair in check so that this low-cost company is never again tempted to undercut our transport workers’ fundamental rights! We have done so in the past, and we are ready to stand up for our workers again. Our determination on defending transport workers’ rights has no limits!