Many airlines have had a tumultuous post-Covid recovery this year, in part struggling to keep up with soaring demand and partly due to the strikes from overworked and unfairly compensated staff.
Ryanair has been at the forefront of the chaos, despite several strikes across Europe over low wages, the airline reported a €1.37 billion profit in the first half of the year, with CEO Michael O’Leary’s salary increase causing further discontent among employees.
While in some countries the disputes have been resolved, in Belgium it is still on going, earlier this year O’Leary threatening to leave the country if the strikes went on.
In a separate disagreement with Brussels Airport Zaventem, Ryanair decided to move its base to Brussels South Airport in Charleroi at least until March 2023. The staff at Zaventem were told they would be moved to the Charleroi airport, but it now seems that they have been informed they would pe placed in different cities across Europe, which is against Belgian law. “Ryanair, over and over again, is flouting the law”, said Didier Lebbe, from the CNE union representing the workers.
The end of the year is fast approaching and if nothing changes at Ryanair or the government, there is a good chance that staff will strike.Didier Lebbe, CNE union permanent secretary
After being told they would simply be relocated at the south airport, “Ryanair changed opinion and unilaterally decided its Brussels based staff now has to work in other European countries, completely illegal and against the Belgian law”, Lebbe said.
“The Belgian social inspection established the infringements, but the court does not follow up on the cases. The end of the year is fast approaching, and if nothing changes at Ryanair or the government, there is a good chance that staff will strike”, Lebbe warned about a possible strike at the end of the year.
The Christmas – New Year season is the busiest time of the year for the aviation and travel industry in general, people going across the world to be with their friends and families during the holidays. A strike at this time of the year could, on the one hand, leave people stranded and apart from close ones for Christmas and New Year and, on the other, have quite an impact on the airline’s budget if too many flights are cancelled.