The strike comes in protest against high work pressure. Pilots are also unhappy with the management’s decision not to increase their extras in line with inflation. There are also complaints about inaccuracies in payments and late rostering.
525 flights were planned over the next three days. 315 flights including 38 long-haul flights are being cancelled affecting some 40,000 passengers. The airline believes 40% of its original schedule can operate.
The unions are satisfied with the workforce’s response to the strike call. They believe today’s strike is a powerful signal to management to indicate that proper discussions are needed and thought has to be given to the nature of the professions of pilot and steward/stewardess and the fatigue of the people in this profession.
Pilots regret having to take strike action but say work pressure is intolerable. Pilot Bart Smet: “Overtime, weekend working, nightshifts. These are all things that are not regulated by law. The only limit is the one imposed by the EU. A normal worker works 38 or 40 hours. We do 60. The ‘most efficient planning’ is drawn up by a computer system” he laughs.