Brussels airport staff strike over DHL impasse
1 October 2004
BRUSSELS – Hundreds of workers downed tools at Brussels National Airport on Friday afternoon to protest over the politicians’ failure to solve the DHL crisis.
Belgium’s federal and regional governments have still not decided whether to let the global courier company expand its activities at Zaventem – a controversial request which has dominated Belgian politics for the last week.
On Thursday, DHL unionists called on workers to strike on Friday from 1 to 2pm. Up to 1,000 workers did gather in the arrivals lounge to support them, calling on the government to “put an end to the uncertainty and to not put off until tomorrow a decision that can be taken today”.
“We live in a country with several governments and none of them want to lose face,” union official Hendrik Vermeersch told Belgian daily La Libre Belgique.
He added that people in Flanders had been set against Brussels residents and citizens had been set against DHL workers.
He argued it would be wrong to let concerns over noisy airplanes win out over the question of jobs. DHL’s plans would see night flights increase to 34,000, but would generate hundreds of extra jobs. The courier has also threatened to find a new European hub if its plans are refused, leading to the loss of up to 2,000 existing jobs at Zaventem.
Friday’s strike at the airport caused the delay of four planes, since air traffic control workers joined the action.
The airport’s management company BIAC also stopped work from 1.15pm to 1.30pm.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news