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Ryanair Staff in Belgium End Strike

Demanding better working conditions, Ryanair staff in Belgium went on strike, a strike that ended on April 25, 2022. 

Though the Irish company signed an agreement in 2019 that agreed to comply with Belgian labor laws, stewards and stewardesses complain that such agreement has not been respected and the airline has not attempted to improve working conditions. 

The strike has impacted about half of Belgian flights in Brussels and Charleroi. Ryanair reached the passengers by email to figure out alternative solutions. 

Mediation between the union and the company was unsuccessful, which prompted the Christian union CSC and the Flemish union ACV Puls to launch the protest and quit working for a total of three days. 


According to ACV Plus, Ryanair lacks a Human Resources department that understands Belgian labor laws correctly, as Belgian labor laws are fragmented and different from other European labor laws. Hans Elsen of ACV Puls said: “In 2019, Ryanair agreed that their staff in Belgium would be covered by Belgian labour law as part of the collective labour agreement. We are now three years later and we found that, on a whole number of crucial points, Ryanair is not applying the labour law correctly”. He added that “Some staff members who are not allowed to fly due to pregnancy, for example, have been without wages or benefits for months. Ryanair has no respect for the well-being of its staff. It is shameful that such a large company continues to get away with ignoring basic labor laws in Belgium”. 


According to the union, 75% of the staff are paid minimum wage despite working on the weekend: “All this for a gross amount of 2,000 euros. Although Ryanair has a 30% margin in Charleroi and is expected to make a profit of one billion euro this year, there is no margin for improving the purchasing power of the workers.”


The strike ended on Monday after three days. It had been billed by the low-cost Irish company as “a useless strike that will disrupt the travel plans of thousands of passengers”. 


“Our action was a strong signal. There was a very great willingness to take action on the part of the staff. We are now assuming a proposal from the management next week but have not heard anything yet”, stated Hans Elsen. 


The management had to say that “The CSC claims to want to ‘teach a lesson’ to Ryanair, but unfortunately it’s Ryanair’s customers who are disturbed and affected by these unnecessary strikes”. It also described the strike as “unilateral” and claimed the cabin crew “abandoned negotiations”. 


The union stated it will organize in Brussels with other European unions, and in case the management does not respond to their requests, this summer might be difficult for Ryanair, not just in Belgium but elsewhere as well. 

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