Brussels police chief criticises prison guards' Christmas strike

Brussels police chief criticises prison guards' Christmas strike
Credit: Helen Lyons/The Brussels Times.

The chief of police for the Brussels South area said on Thursday that he did not appreciate the strike planned by prison guards in Saint-Gilles, Forest and Berkendael.

“I find it very difficult to deprive my staff of holidays to replace the striking guards,” Jurgen De Landsheer told Belga News Agency. “We will also have to withdraw field staff for general security.”

De Landsheer explained that he had no problem with the strike and its reasons, which are namely prison overcrowding and lack of staff, but that he found it “unheard of” that the police would have to replace not only striking guards, but also guards who had taken Christmas Eve off.

He therefore asked the prisons and the judiciary to cancel these leaves, but for the moment, the two have remained “as silent as mice,” he said.

For Christmas Eve, 26 agents from the Brussels South area have been ordered to cover for the striking guards and the guards on holiday.

“I would have to deprive my agents of their holidays, their friends and family, in order to give holidays to other people,” he said. “I can't justify this.”

The strike will begin at 10:00 PM on Thursday night and last until 6:00 AM on Christmas Day.

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