Ryanair Belgium-based cabin crew strike sees 128 flights cancelled

A Ryanair aircraft parked at Brussels South Charleroi Airport.
Supporterhéninois, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Flight cancellations and disruptions are anticipated over the New Year weekend as Belgium based Ryanair cabin crew members are set to commence strike action on 30 and 31 December.

The new strike action is expected to cause disruptions at Brussels South Charleroi Airport across the weekend, with 128 flights already reported to be cancelled.

According to the Belga News Agency, the proposed strike action has arisen over the Irish carrier’s refusal to pay cabin crew staff Belgium’s legal minimum wage.

The action will affect only the complement of 15 Ryanair aircraft stationed at Charleroi Airport and operated by Belgium-based flight crews. Other airline’s flight operations will not be affected.

As well as the immediate strike action, it is understood that further action has been proposed for January 1, 7 and 8 in the first week of the New Year.

Staff dissatisfaction with the airline has been ongoing this year and has been characterised by a series of stalled talks between the parties concerned.

Today’s strike action follows industrial action by flight crew and cabin crew in summer.

In November ACV Puls and CNE trade unions warned of further strikes over the holiday season, saying Ryanair was “flouting the laws.”

“Since it moved to Belgium, Ryanair has continued to flout the laws,” denounced ACV Puls permanent secretary Hans Elsen, last month.

He acknowledged that the situation had improved in 2018 after the first staff strikes, but pointed out that this occurred without assistance from public authorities.

The union official said that the low-cost company continued to disrespect the Belgian labor legislation and he lamented the lack of action from the authorities.

If services such as the national social security office (ONSS) attempt to do their job by recording infringements, judicial authorities do not follow up”, stated Didier Lebbe of the CNE at the time.

He also denounced the situation as being “completely incomprehensible”.

According to Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir, the CEO of Charleroi Airport, Philippe Verdonck, has been quoted as saying: “Nineteen thousand people are being held hostage because of this strike.”

“Do I understand this strike? We are launching a movement because of uncertainty about the future of the Brussels base! Welcome to Belgium and thank you to those who are instigating this movement.”

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