Flightcare guilty of discrimination over sacking
7 February 2006, BRUSSELS — A Brussels industrial tribunal judge ruled on Monday the sacking of ACV union official Maria Vindevoghel by the Zaventem Airport baggage handling firm Flightcare was discriminatory.
7 February 2006
BRUSSELS — A Brussels industrial tribunal judge ruled on Monday the sacking of ACV union official Maria Vindevoghel by the Zaventem Airport baggage handling firm Flightcare was discriminatory.
However, the judge also said he could not force Flightcare to reinstate Vindevoghel. He nevertheless gave the firm 30 days to decide whether it would re-employ the union official.
Vindevoghel's lawyers requested on 23 January that she be reinstated based on anti-discrimination laws. They also demanded fines of EUR 10,000 for every day that the discrimination continued.
The ACV union federation said Vindevoghel operated like any other employee but was fired because of her duties as a union representative. The union said that this was a case of discrimination.
Although the Commissioner of Audit disagreed with the union, the industrial tribunal agreed, newspaper 'De Tijd' reported on Monday.
The tribunal also said it cannot impose fines on Flightcare, but gave the firm 30 days to decide whether it would re-employ Vindevoghel. It is unlikely, however, that she will be reinstated.
Flightcare sacked Vindevoghel on 13 July 2005 on claims she repeatedly breached safety regulations.
Union ACV said there was no basis for the sacking and waged a bitter industrial dispute that led to strikes at Zaventem Airport and delays for passengers.
It then accused Flightcare itself of safety braches and demanded the industrial tribunal order Flightcare to reinstate Vindevoghel.
Flightcare claimed said Vindevoghel breached safety regulations by using her identity badge to enter various departments outside of work hours.
When it was discovered that airport operator BIAC had suspended Vindevoghel's entry rights, Flightcare said there was no other option but to sack her.
However, the ACV said Flightcare had requested BIAC to suspend Vindevoghel's rights and was hiding behind the airport operator in a bid to remove the union official — an argument the judge agreed with.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news