Flightcare talks break down, strikes at threat
25 August 2005
BRUSSELS — Negotiations to end a union dispute with management at Zaventem Airport baggage handling firm have broken down, opening up the possibility of disruptive strikes.
Unions started distributing pamphlets to Flightcare staff on Thursday informing them about the failed talks with company management, newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ reported.
“In the pamphlet we tell employees that no result was achieved because the management does not want to talk about several urgent social problems, such as work pressure, the flexible hour rosters and the many temporary contracts,” ACV union secretary Joris Welters said.
“The intention likewise was to assess the strike preparedness of the employees. Spontaneous actions in the interim have not been ruled out.”
The dispute was triggered after Flightcare sacked prominent ACV union official Maria Vindevoghel in July for alleged breaches of safety regulations.
Unions then staged a strike at Zaventem Airport on 15 July, leading to limited passenger delays. Arbitrator Bernard Leemans was appointed to try and broker a deal by the end of August.
Talks resumed on Tuesday after being postponed for the summer holiday period.
However, unions are demanding that Flightcare address several social problems within the company. They also allege that Flightcare — which employs more than 1,500 people — is in breach of safety guidelines.
In September, a workgroup was to draw up the base for a new workplace arrangement, while reports from safety inspectorates were also to be discussed next month.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news