Expatica news

Job cuts begin after DHL pullout

22 October 2004

BRUSSELS – The first announcements of job cuts have emerged since global courier DHL said it would seriously scale down its operations in Belgium.

The management of European Air Transport (EAT), a Belgian contractor for DHL that handles aircraft maintenance for the courier firm said on Friday that it would reduce its staff from 580 to 245 as a result of the decision.

“It’s a tough blow for the personnel who, even if they were living in fear, still had some hope to cling on to,” said the Christian Union (CCSP), insisting that all jobs should be saved.

It is still unclear which staff are to lose their jobs.

After weeks of protracted and difficult talks with the Belgian regional and federal governments, DHL said on Thursday it could not accept the conditions attached to the planned expansion of its operations.

A coalition of trade unions from DHL Aviation, EAT and DHL international have decided to organise a demonstration for “growth and the preservation of jobs” in Brussels at the end of the week.

“We will not sign up to the possibility of a lowering of activities at Brussels-National airport,” said union leader Henrik Vermeersch.

“The willingness of the management to start talks on Friday to lead to collective redundancy agreement is a pipe dream,” added Lode Verschingel from the CNE union.

Between 100 and 200 union delegates will meet on Monday to organise the demonstration.

DHL’s decision is expected to lead to the loss of 1,700 jobs.

The company is likely to relocate to either Vautry airport in France or Leipzig in Germany to expand its European operations.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news