The social partners of the Belgian aviation sector are working on a recommendation to be sent to the Federal Minister of Pensions Daniel Bacquelaine, in which they propose to recognise the profession of a pilot and that of the cabin crew (stewardesses and stewards ) as a painful profession. This would allow them to retire early, said financial newspaper De Tijd on its website Friday.
For a long time, the pilots were able to retire at age 55 but this possibility has since been changed to 65 (and even 67 in the future), with some transition arrangements for those who are active today. Recognition as a heavy occupation would allow them to retire early. The employees of Brussels Airlines and TUI fly, among others, could be concerned.
Filip Lemberechts of the liberal trade union believes that pilots fall within the criteria recently set by the government for arduous jobs (heavy physical burden, demanding work organisation or dangerous work, supplemented by stress). “Pilots working in a small space, often far from home, have to deal with a lot of fatigue and work day and night,” says the trade unionist in De Tijd. The fact that the pilots earn a good living does not come into play for recognition as a heavy occupation, according to him.
If the criteria are set, the government of Prime Minister Michel must still find a way to define them more accurately. The social partners must submit proposals detailing which professions meet the criteria.
Minister Bacquelaine prefers not to comment on the pilots’ request. “Let the social dialogue address the issue,” said his spokesman to De Tijd.