19 May 2005
BRUSSELS – Ryanair has come under fire in Belgium for giving its employees based in the country a 3 percent raise but refusing to negotiate with unions for any collective pay deals.
Trade unions complain the decision amounts to a pay snub for committed trade unionists.
This is because the unions believe in ‘collective bargaining,’ where they broker a pay rise on behalf of all their members.
The low-cost Irish carrier, which has based its key continental European hub at Brussels South Airport in Charleroi, has seriously irked its unionised Belgian workers with the move.
Ryanair could now face a legal investigation for the move in Belgium, according to an interview with Belgian labour law expert Dominique Claes published in La Libre Belgique.
“Any Belgian employer can arbitrarily increase the wages of his personnel, as long as he sticks to the parameters of the (country’s) minimum wage requirements,” said Claes, an attorney with the Taquet, Clesse et Van Eeckhoutte law firm and a member of the Brussels bar.
“But if a Belgian employer takes a decision like that of Ryanair, he can be subjected to a critical control based on the anti-discrimination law of 23 February 2005.”
And the disgruntled Belgian workers can also turn to EU law, if necessary, he added.
“There are European directives which have encouraged national legislators to remove any form of discrimination in particular related to convictions, sexual orientation and the right of association,” said Claes.
“The Belgian workers of Ryanair can call upon them and they can constitute one of the sources of rights which can justify a legal recourse against the airline company.”
Subject: Belgian News