Union members representing Brussels Airlines cabin crew led an action at Brussels Airport on Monday morning to raise awareness among passengers about their deteriorating working conditions. According to Belgian union CNE, this is the very first time that the airline’s cabin crew are forced to take this kind of action.
Leaflets were distributed in front of Brussels Airport’s departure terminal to passengers departing on Brussels Airlines flights. Their protest denounces “insane flight rotations, a lack of rest time and the fact that some crews were faced with a short night abroad without having a hotel room reservation or even crew transportation”.
“After a long pandemic and a precarious period, the Lufthansa Group took advantage of the situation and pushed through reforms that they would otherwise never have been able to be put in place,” the leaflet describes, “crazy flight combinations with very little rest between them are being scheduled. Some of our crews even didn’t have a hotel booked or had no crew transport when arriving abroad for a 5 hour night.”
“No need to explain to you, esteemed guests, the impact this has on fatigue and the mental health of our colleagues. Flights are already regularly being cancelled due to lack of staff.”
No strike for the time being
“For the time being, we have decided not to go on strike as we do not want to punish our passengers who need their godsend holidays after a long period of lockdowns but all sorts of smaller actions will be organised and we do already apologise for any inconvenience this may have on you.”
Signed: the united unions of Brussels Airlines cabin crews.
The management of Brussels Airlines says it respects the agreement reached with the unions (note from the editor: in 2020) but recognises that the workload is high. “We are working on solutions. We have planned a number of meetings to work on this with the social partners”, explains a spokesperson for Brussels Airlines to Belgian daily webzine 7 sur 7.
A meeting between the unions and management is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The Lufthansa subsidiary is still operating at only 75 to 80% of its capacity, but the airline has to cope with the incessant changes in the colour code of certain countries. Due to the pandemic, the airline constantly needs to adapt its network and consequently, this affects staff workload. In addition, staff members who are being vaccinated cannot fly on the day of their vaccination or the following two days, which further complicates the situation, Brussels Airlines pointed out.