Around 30 Brussels Airlines cabin crew members will observe a one-day “symbolic” strike on Tuesday 14 September, the three trade unions say in a united front. “As long as Lufthansa remains uncompromising, actions will go crescendo“
The strikers are the cabin crew who stood as candidates in the social elections a few months ago. They will be present at Brussels Airport from 05:00 to 18:00 and will organise a day of support and information during which they will explain several principles to the rest of the staff. This is to make them aware of the situation within the company, which has some 1,100 stewards and stewardesses.
The cabin crew, according to the union, is being confronted with irregular payments, infeasible pairings, disrespect for EASA rules, unequal schedules distributions, endless bus transfer trips and waiting times and more muddles.
At the end of August, it appeared that actions had become “inevitable” at Brussels Airlines after the failure of discussions and of a conciliation meeting on the workload of the cabin crew held on 19 August. The unions filed a strike notice immediately thereafter and then had to inform and consult their base.
“The purpose of this action is to put pressure on the Lufthansa Group, the parent company of Brussels Airlines, without bothering the passengers. The management was also notified of this action on Friday in order to be able to organise themselves“, explains Didier Lebbe, permanent secretary of the CNE union. “As long as Lufthansa remains uncompromising, actions will increase,” he warns.
“We are asking for structural measures to prevent the workload problems encountered this summer from repeating themselves“, says his counterpart from ACV Puls, Pol Buekenhout, who qualifies Tuesday’s strike as “symbolic“.
“We have had meetings with management for weeks, with little or no results,” deplores Olivier Van Camp, Permanent Secretary of the Setca/BBTK union. This action will be “soft“, but aims to give a “clear signal” to management, he continues.
The unions want the problematic points to be removed from the collective labour agreement (CLA) signed about a year ago following a restructuring within the company, which had led the latter to reduce its staff by 25% and its fleet by 30%.
It is worth noticing that this is the first time ever that cabin crew from Brussels Airlines will go on strike.
For its part, the management of the company said in August that it continues to implement the proposed measures to reduce the current high workload of the cabin crew and to address, in particular, the issues of flight pairings, fatigue management, and staff planning.
“We are keeping our promises regarding measures and solutions to reduce the current high workload for cabin crew. We continue our open and constructive social dialogue. Last week we had yet another meeting with all social partners to discuss the company’s situation and explain our plans for the future,” Brussels Airlines reacted on Monday evening.
“However, the cancellation of the CLA which was agreed in June of last year is not an option. The competitiveness of the company is crucial to create a sustainable future for our company and its staff”, concludes the airline.