Expatica news

Dewael praises ‘respectful’ industrial action

28 October 2005

BRUSSELS — Belgian Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has said he was pleased with how the national strike and demonstration took place on Friday.

After a video conference with provincial governors, he said everything passed off without incident, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported.

Warning prior to Friday that road blockades will not be accepted, Dewael said the number of such protests could be counted on one hand.

He estimated 70,000 to 73,000 people participated in the protest march in Brussels. The figures were based on the number of buses, trains and extra trains that operated near the start and end of the march.

Strikers’ posts were found at many places across the country, but there were very few road blockades. So-called filter-blockades in which unionists hand out information to motorists were ended successfully via negotiations.

“Everywhere strikes, working and free movement were respected,” the Liberal VLD minister’s spokesman said.

He added that the talks Dewael held with unions warning them prior to the strike that police intervention will be necessary if road blockades occur appears to have had the desired affect.

Police said it also appears that very few business locations were blockaded and that everyone who wanted to work on Friday was able to do so.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news