Brussels Airlines talks collapse, "stalemate is complete"

The stalemate at Brussels Airlines continues. The pilots - who staged a strike on Monday and Wednesday - negotiated with the management for 14 hours last night, but without result. Trades unions were talking about a "blockage total", a French term meaning that the stalemate is complete at present. Pilots are facing an enormous work pressure due to cost-cutting measures in the past. They demand a pay rise and more days off to have a better balance between work and private life.

Trades unions and the management had fruitless talks on Monday. A second attempt last night also lacked a positive outcome, despite the talks continuing for 14 hours, and despite the arrival of a social mediator in the final part.

However, trades unions told reporters afterwards that no progress was made: "It was not a story of moving closer, but one of seeing the gap widen. The ultimate proposal made by the management, was even worse than the one made last week, which received thumbs down from the pilots."

"It was a long marathon, but we failed to reach the finishline. The water is very deep", another source said.

However, this doesn't mean there is no hope left. Both parties underline they want to reach a deal. The pilots are not talking of a new strike, at present. "Taking industrial action is not a goal in itself. The management should take some time to think, and should at least give the pilots a new perspective."

Etienne Davignon, the president of the board of directors, said that "everyone is disappointed at present. But the bridges have not been burnt. Trades unions know that we have the will and the capacity to solve the issues."

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