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The pilots of Brussels Airlines will stop work from March 23 to 27, a step that stems from a long-running conflict with management over salary cuts and workload.

This action could potentially evolve into monthly strikes if their demands remain unanswered, trade union ACV Puls warns. This threat underlines the pilots' determination to have their grievances taken seriously, in an industry that is still recovering from the far-reaching consequences of the corona crisis.

The heart of the dispute lies in the financial and employment conditions that were adjusted during the pandemic. The pilots of Brussels Airlines, a proud member of the Lufthansa Group, have reportedly suffered an average wage loss of 14.000 euros every year, in addition to an increase in workload with days lasting up to 12 hours. Despite a profit of 53 million euros in 2023 for the Lufthansa Group, the concessions made during the crisis remain permanent, pointing to a deeper problem within the sector.

The management of Brussels Airlines has submitted a proposal to increase some premiums in an attempt to alleviate the situation, but according to ACV Puls secretary Jolinde Defieuw, this offer is insufficient. “So far they have shown very little flexibility,” Defieuw noted to colleagues at the VRT NWS news service, indicating a possible impasse between the two parties. However, the airline's management emphasizes that the proposed package represents a significant improvement in purchasing power and also addresses complaints about workload across the board.

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Photo: Brussels Airlines

The unions are threatening to strike later as long as the management does not show sufficient support.

This strike, which follows an earlier work stoppage in January, highlights the ongoing unrest within the Brussels Airlines staff, not only among the pilots but also among the cabin crew. The impact of the actions extends beyond those directly involved; it affects the entire business operations and the travelers, who may have to look for alternatives. Brussels Airlines tries to minimize the inconvenience for passengers and emphasizes the negative consequences of the strikes for the company and all employees.

In an industry where margins are already tight, this situation exposes the fragile balance between employee welfare and business returns. As the airline industry adapts to the post-pandemic era, the challenges of labor relations and financial sustainability are becoming increasingly apparent. The coming days will be crucial in determining the direction of this ongoing battle, with potential consequences for European aviation and beyond.

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