Brussels Airlines pilots will start 24-hour strike on Saturday
Pilots from Brussels Airlines will start a 24-hour strike on Saturday morning at 5:00. The socialist trade union confirmed this on Friday.
It is a "wildcat strike", but one that is supported by the unions, says Olivier Van Camp of the socialist union BBTK. A wildcat strike is when unionised workers take an initiative without the union leadership's authorisation or approval.
The dispute has to do with the alleged cafeteria plan, a series of fringe benefits that pilots receive in addition to their regular pay. According to BBTK, the management refuses to index that cafeteria plan, reducing the pilots' purchasing power. Van Camp reported that a judge ruled in their favour, and the management had promised to apply the indexation but has now announced that it will appeal the ruling anyway.
Brussels Airlines, meanwhile, has set up a task force to assess the impact of the strike, which flights can or cannot go ahead and the consequences for passengers, says spokesperson Nico Cardone. "We apologise to all passengers affected by the strike. Our colleagues are doing everything possible to find solutions for everyone." The spokesperson has yet to say how significant the impact will be in concrete terms.
Brussels Airlines would not comment on the content of the social conflict. Management is calling on the unions to sit around the table. It points out that a strike "will have a negative impact on our business and put pressure on future investments".