The Minister in charge of Walloon airports, Adrien Dolimont, may take action in the coming days if Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Employment Pierre-Yves Dermagne does not act on the Ryanair issue. This week’s announcement of the new strike by Belgian based Ryanair pilots deepens a longstanding social conflict that regularly paralyses Charleroi Airport.
However, for the Minister in charge of airports in Wallonia, Adrien Dolimont, this situation has lasted too long. He has been calling on the Federal government for many months to try to defuse the situation. A few excerpts, originally published in L’Echo, by journalists François-Xavier Lefèvre and Corentin Di Prima:
But a letter without response
In a letter sent to the Minister of Employment, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, on August 10th, he explained that “this situation is severely detrimental to Charleroi Airport, and if the negative trend continues, it poses a serious risk to the direct, indirect, and induced jobs generated at the airport.”
Clearly frustrated by the lack of a federal consultation initiative since a previous letter addressed to the same minister on June 16, 2022, Adrien Dolimont once again calls on Minister Dermagne to act. “It appears necessary to find a structural and lasting solution to this conflict. Therefore, I respectfully request, once again, in your capacity as the federal Minister of Employment, to initiate a social conciliation,” his letter, which daily newspaper L’Echo has seen, states.
Questioned in the Walloon Parliament on the progress of the conflict on Monday, the minister expressed surprise at the federal government’s lack of response to his last letter. “My letter has remained unanswered so far, and I will not hesitate to take further initiatives in the coming days without new developments. Such conciliation has been established in other recent conflicts (such as Delhaize, note), and I believe it is high time to try this method, initiated by the federal employment minister, in the Ryanair conflict.”
“While emphasising the importance of respecting labour laws in the infrastructures under Wallonia’s supervision,” the minister points out that the strikes in July and August had significant impacts. “BSCA (the airport operator, note) recorded a total of 152 cancelled flights and 26,388 affected departing passengers. However, by the end of August, BSCA had a very positive result, with a total of 37,000 commercial flights and 6,296,000 total passengers processed. BSCA thus shows a 14% growth compared to the same period in 2019, despite these strikes.”
On Minister Dermagne’s side, it is important to highlight the legal actions involved in this case, making it significantly different from the Delhaize case, for example. “There are 73 legal actions pending. All these cases are in the hands of the labour auditor. As for me, I have strengthened the workforce of the labour inspection during the last budget conference with 150 new hires in these services,” emphasizes Minister Dermagne.