Strikes brings Brussels Airport to a standstill
Baggage carriers protesting against the stressful working conditions at the airport have paralysed flight traffic.11 August 2008
BELGIUM - Flights to and from Brussels International Airport in Zaventem are being disrupted Monday as baggage carriers protest against increased work pressure.
Organised by the employees of baggage carrier Aviapartner and part of the personnel at Flightcare, the strike has led to airplanes being unable to take off or land.
The strike has effectively paralysed the flight traffic from Brussels International Airport in Zaventem. Airport spokesman Jan Van der Cruysse confirmed earlier on Monday that no planes were able to take off or land.
Several flights are being rerouted to other airports- mostly to the airport in Bierset near Liège.
Tour operators Thomas Cook, Neckermann and Pegase decided Monday morning to divert their flights to Bierset. Travellers at Zaventem can be transported by bus.
At the moment however, many passengers are stranded in the turmoil at Brussels Airport. Passengers are advised to go directly to Bierset if possible
Emergency number for more information
Brussels Airport is advising passengers not to go to Zaventem. Those who have a flight booked on Monday can call an emergency number in Brussels for further information: 02/753 73 00.
Dissatisfaction has been mounting for a long time
The strike action began Sunday evening. The personnel of baggage handlers Aviapartner are striking against the high work pressure.
For baggage carousel shifts where there used to be five people working there are now only three, say the trade unions. The employees complain that there are not enough workers to keep up with the high pace of work.
The unions have been negotiating with the management since 9:00 Monday morning. The management hopes to reach a quick agreement. On the other hand, the management criticises the allegations of the trade unions.
“The number of baggage handlers/flight has not been decreased. It is true however that there are sometimes fewer people due to unforeseen circumstances, such as flight delays,” says the management.
Personnel of Flightcare are also striking.
The unions accuse the management of ‘social harassment’. The unions say that the management has upped the work pressure consistently over the last years. Talks with the Flightcare unions started Monday at noon.
[flandersnews.be / Expatica]
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