Social dialogue at Brussels Airlines
Most recent updates
4.07.2022 - Meeting between the unions and management of Brussels Airlines
Today, 4 July 2022, we invited our trade unions to continue the dialogue after the strike days of 23, 24 and 25 June 2022.
This meeting had several objectives:
- To inform about the short-term measures to alleviate the current summer season
- To discuss next steps, on how we will work towards the 23 August meeting to collaborate on long-term measures to alleviate the workload during the 2023 summer season.
The short-term measures for this summer are:
- Early June, we already announced the cancellation of 148 flights in the month of July in order to reduce the workload. Last week, flights were added for the months of July and August.
- In total, we have cancelled an average of 6% of our flight schedule for the months of July and August in recent weeks.
- TOTAL: July = 372 flights less (-6,7%), 303 flights less (-5,6%)
- The last of these cancellations happened last Tuesday (28 June), we have as always contacted the affected travellers and offered them an alternative.
- More cancellations are commercially impossible
- In addition, we are continuing to work on fine-tuning the planning system that we introduced last autumn.
- The result of these optimisations will also bring a better balance in the work/life of our crews.
For the long-term solutions, we will organise a meeting with the trade unions on 23 August.
- In order to relieve the workload in the long term, towards next summer, we will from now on set up working groups to continue to work constructively on balanced flight schedules (e.g. ratio of block hours / duty hours).
- Long-term changes require cooperation where everyone bears his/her responsibility.
Today, we are clearly meeting the demands of the unions and hope to thus definitively rule out further actions and reassure our passengers.
The entire aviation sector is facing a turbulent summer. If we look at our neighbouring countries, the challenges are even bigger. We have an advantage here at our airport that we must hold on to, but that is only possible if we go for it together as a company.
Continuing to work together for a healthy and sustainable future for our company, with a balance between the well-being of our employees and the commercial strength of Brussels Airlines, is our common priority.
21.06.2022 (11.00am) - Strike (23, 24 & 25 June)
As announced previously, we are informing all passengers travelling on 23rd, 24th and 25th June of the status of their flight and alternative travel options.
We sincerely regret the impact of these social actions on our customers, at the start of the Summer holidays. On these three days, 533 flights (charters included) were originally scheduled for almost 70,000 passengers.
As our priority is to provide our customers with clarity about their travel plans as early as possible, we started cancelling a first part of our flight programme already on Sunday 19th June.
We currently have an intermediate view of the impact of the social action and the willingness to work of our pilots and cabin crew. As a result, we plan to keep around 40% of the original flight programme. The cancellations represent around 315 flights of which 38 long-hauls, and impact almost 40,000 passengers.
We are looking for as many solutions as possible for our customers to rebook them on other flights, within Lufthansa Group and outside. An example of an alternative we offer within Brussels Airlines is that we will operate 3 long-haul aircraft (A330) to cover the need of 4 Nice flights and 6 Rome flights. With this measure we optimally use the available crew.
Our objective is to have all impacted customers informed by Tuesday 21st June at the end of the day. We continue to closely monitor the situation and stay in contact with the impacted passengers.
The management of Brussels Airlines remains open to discussions with the trade unions.
16.06.2022 - Reaction to the notice of strike
Towards and about our passengers:
“Our first priority right now are our passengers. We sincerely regret the impact these actions have on our customers. At the moment we do not yet know how many flights will be impacted by the social action and how many will be operated as planned. We are doing everything possible to revise our flights schedule as soon as we have a view on the participation rate of our crews in the strike actions. We will inform all passengers travelling on 23, 24 and 25 June about the status of their flight and if needed, alternative travel options. We ask our passengers for their patience and to not call our service centres at this moment as they can’t provide any further information yet. Passengers can check on our website if their contact details are included in their booking (Manage My Booking) and add them if not yet done. Passengers who have booked via a tour operator or (online) travel agency need to contact their respective agency.”
About the social discussions:
“We regret that the talks with our social partners have not led to an agreement for our cockpit and cabin crew departments.
In the past weeks and months we have taken a series of initiatives to relieve the work pressure for our operational departments in this exceptional summer. Amongst others, we have taken out 148 flights to ease the operations. We recruited 225 additional cabin crew members and we have adapted flight duties as a response to the requests from our staff about the heavy workload.
As we were loss making in 2020, in 2021 and still as well in Quarter 1, 2022, our financial situation does not allow us to reverse or reopen the current CLAs, which were signed as part of our agreement with the Belgian Government by all our social partners in 2020 to guarantee a future for our company.
We have succeeded fairly well in fulfilling our staffing needs, customers are eager to fly with us again to their holiday destinations after two years of isolation, booking numbers are rising at high speed,… all good reasons to be optimistic for our future. After our turnaround program Reboot Plus and two years of fighting the worst crisis in our history, we are now scrambling to keep up with the fast recovery of our industry.Recovery, in the sense that demand is coming back at an unseen speed for the summer, but not a recovery of the heavy losses we have suffered. In aviation it is imperative that we take the opportunity of the summer months to make a profit. Furthermore, we are battling significantly increased costs, mainly but not only, due to the fuel price. A three-day strike will have a very large impact on our company’s bottom line and would force us to review the growth we had planned.”
Additional info for press:
At this time 525 flights are planned for 23, 24 and 25 June. We do not yet know how many of those will be cancelled as this depends on the participation rate of our crews in the strike action. We will keep you posted on further developments.
Both statements can be quoted in name of Maaike Andries, Spokesperson for Brussels Airlines.