Brussels Airlines reaches agreement with its social partners on structural measures paving the way for a long-term profitable future of the company
- Agreement reached today between the management of Brussels Airlines and the Workers Council on structural measures increasing the competitiveness of the airline and herewith offering long-term perspectives to its employees.
- Measures taken reduce the number of forced dismissals to a minimum
- Strong support in terms of job search and career change will be provided to employees who leave the company.
- Structural measures allow for productivity increase and unit cost decrease to create a long-term sustainable future
Today, an agreement was reached between the Brussels Airlines management and its social partners, representing the more than 4,000 employees of the company’s different departments: Cockpit crew, Cabin crew, Maintenance & Engineering, Ground Operations and Support Functions. This confirms the agreement in principle disclosed yesterday by the trade unions representing the employees.
As announced in May, Brussels Airlines needs to take substantial measures in order to create a long-term future for the company. The carrier needs to structurally reduce its costs to a competitive level. This involves the cancellation of unprofitable destination, a reduction of the fleet, and as a consequence, the shrinking of employment. Today, the Management and the Worker’s Council of Brussels Airlines came to an agreement that allows tackling the company’s immediate and future needs.
“Reaching an agreement with our social partners and jointly taking responsibility for structural change for Brussels Airlines, is a key milestone towards a long-term competitive company. I wish to thank the union representatives for taking this crucial step together with us. By implementing our turnaround plan, we will start building a financially healthy airline that will first become smaller and structurally profitable, followed by growth. This will create perspectives to its employees, customers and stakeholders.”
Dieter Vranckx, CEO Brussels Airlines
The agreement safeguards 75% of the jobs, evenly spread across departments. The priority of both the management and the unions was to look at all possible options to avoid forced dismissals as much as possible. Thanks to alternative options, which include early retirement, part-time working, time credit, voluntary departure and unpaid leave, the number of forced dismissals can be limited to a minimum.
The social plan will be presented Monday (29 June) to the staff. People will have three days to decide whether to accept some of the proposals (early retirement, part-time working, time credit, voluntary departure and unpaid leave). The number of forced layoffs will depend on the number of workers accepting the above proposals.
There will be no dismissals for cockpit and cabin crew. The 590 pilots will be offered either seasonal contracts (100% during the 7 summer months, 60% during the 5 winter months, paid 85% throughout the year) or part-time contracts (11% salary cut for first officers, 15% cut for captains). Those of the 1600 flight attendants (representing 1123 full-time equivalents) which will not leave voluntarily will work 100% during summer and 90% during winter, paid 96% throughout the year. This prevents furloughing 260 flight crew.
For the employees who leave the company, Brussels Airlines offers outplacement for 12 months to help them with their career transition, in cooperation with Travvant.
The aim is to shrink and become profitable before growing again, ensuring a future for the 75% remaining employees.
While the turnaround plan is indispensable to overcome the crisis and become structurally competitive, the ongoing discussions to secure the financing of the company remain essential. The Belgian home carrier hopes for a positive outcome of the ongoing talks on the financial support that is needed to overcome the consequences of this unprecedented crisis and to restructure the company.
The cost of the restructuring plan should be shared between parent company Lufthansa and the Belgian government, with the hope that discussions will be concluded by end-June. The figures that have been circulating (290 to 390 million euros) are only guesstimates. Meanwhile, Brussels Airlines was able to find liquidity without asking anything from Lufthansa, through ending some contracts and other financial operations.
A ray of home: the flights operated since the resumption on 15 June are profitable.
Friday, June 26, 2020