Ryanair's Belgian pilots, mainly active at Charleroi airport, will strike again on September 14 and 15. This will be the fourth strike in two months, and dissatisfaction only seems to be growing. The actions are a protest against the new rules on rest periods and a lack of movement around wage increases.
The pilots made their announcement through the trade unions ACV Puls and CNE, and this is no coincidence: Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary is expected in Brussels later today for a press conference. In addition, a Ryanair general shareholders' meeting is scheduled for September 14.
The pilots are dissatisfied with a new schedule that Ryanair wants to introduce. According to this new schedule, they would get less rest time. They also speak of “blackmail” by the management, which only wants to negotiate a new collective labor agreement (CAO) regarding rest periods if the complaints already submitted are withdrawn. According to Didier Lebbe of the CNE trade union, this is impossible, because investigations are already underway.
The pilots now demand that Ryanair "respects Belgian law, pays the arrears and starts negotiations without conditions". In addition to the new rest time regulation, there is also a conflict about wages. The pilots agreed to a 2020% pay cut in 20 to help the company during the corona crisis. Now they demand that their wages be reinstated, a request that Ryanair has so far refused.
As with the previous strikes, only Charleroi airport will be affected by this strike. Ryanair also operates from Brussels Airport, but the pilots who fly there are not based in Belgium and are therefore not involved in this action.
After three previous strikes, with more than 220 canceled flights and a lot of inconvenience for passengers, there still seems to be no end in sight to this ongoing conflict. With the shareholders' meeting and the expected presence of CEO Michael O'Leary in Brussels, it is hoped that a solution will soon be found for these ongoing problems.
The ongoing strikes have already had a serious impact on passengers, with many people affected by flight cancellations and delays. Passengers affected by this new strike have the right to have their ticket refunded or their flight rebooked. In addition, depending on the circumstances, they may be eligible for additional compensation ranging between 250 and 600 euros.
The unions and the pilots are urging immediate and unconditional talks. “We want the company to respect Belgian law and its employees,” said CNE's Didier Lebbe. “The arrears must be made, and negotiations must be made without conditions.”