Why two Belgian unions representing Ryanair pilots are issuing a strike warning this summer
Yesterday, the two Belgian unions ACV Puls and CNE issued a strike notice against the low-cost airline Ryanair. BeCA, the professional association representing airline pilots in Belgium, supports the action of Ryanair crew members based in Belgium. “TThe current dissatisfaction is based on Ryanair’s continued circumvention of Belgian labor law,BeCA writes in a press release, which follows in full:
Although the Irish company formally agreed in 2019 to apply Belgian labor law, Ryanair is doing everything possible to avoid its commitments. As of 2019, Ryanair has still not established a stable and competent human resources management. The “managers” of human resources, young freshly graduated, remain in post barely six months before being replaced by newcomers, preventing any continuity of social dialogue to solve existing problems.
This unacceptable situation has harmful consequences for the aircrew:
- the payslips are not correctly drawn upleading to confusion and payment errors.
- COVID temporary unemployment days were not always correctly declared to the ONSS, leading to incorrect COVID unemployment benefits to date.
- Individual warning letters followed by disciplinary procedures are sent to pilots on medical certificates whom Ryanair deems “too often sick”. This creates unacceptable pressure on the crews.
- Young co-pilots are mostly hired as freelancers, despite their repeated requests for a direct contract, a situation that makes them personally responsible and liable for this arrangement, which has been questioned by the authorities.
- The company forced its pilots during the Covid crisis to accept pay cuts under threat of dismissals that were not necessary or justifiedand set up a system to circumvent the automatic indexation of salaries.
Such practices continually increase social tensions within the company. Ryanair has become Europe’s largest carrier and will be one of the few companies to make a profit by 2022. Mr O’Leary recently announced an estimated profit of 1 billion euros for 2022. The wage concessions demanded under the threat of redundancies are therefore no longer justified. Let’s not forget that Belgium is an extremely lucrative market for Ryanair, as Charleroi is the third most profitable of the 86 European bases.
Ryanair pilots demand that the rights of employees under Belgian law are respected and that a real social dialogue is established. So far, Ryanair has only resolved issues and disputes with its employees through disputes.
The pilots bitterly regret having resorted to the last resort of the strike to make their voices heard, and apologize in advance to their passengers for the inconvenience cause. It is up to Ryanair to change the way it manages its staff and become a modern and respectable company for its workers and passengers.
Aviation24.be demanded a response from Ryanair.