All aircraft of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, based at Zaventem and Charleroi airports, have been grounded due to a three-day strike by cabin crew and pilots stationed there.
Dutch-speaking and French-speaking Christian unions ACV Puls and CNE have notified the Irish airline today, on the second day of the strike.
However, less than 2 percent of Ryanair’s 3,000 scheduled flights in Europe were affected by the strikes yesterday, Ryanair itself said. Ryanair said the union’s actions were limited to “minimal disruption” in Belgium, where more than 60 percent of the regular flight schedule to and from Charleroi and Zaventem airports was carried out. Union leader Didier Lippi (CNE) confirms today that “this only shows that 60 percent of flights are conducted daily by crews and aircraft based in places other than Belgium.”
“Belgium is a very small part of our global operations and most of our aircraft that are deployed there are not located there,” said Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair. Ryanair has 17 aircraft in Belgium: four of them at Zaventem Airport and 13 at Charleroi.
Unionist Lebbe is pleased with the “very strong” crowd of staff, which means that 100 percent of Ryanair’s aircraft are grounded “in one of the most profitable countries in the Ryanair network”.
“The company preferred to see 30,000 people in Belgium lose their flights due to compliance with Belgian law,” said a representative of a Spanish trade union at Charleroi airport. She hopes the Belgian government will hear the staff’s message.
According to Lebbe, Ryanair pilots can also take action at the European level if nothing changes. British cabin crew also voted for a strike that could happen in August. French workers will also take action today and tomorrow.
The unions believe the ball is now in the management’s court.
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