Belgium in Brief: Mass mobilisation in Brussels and flights grounded

Belgium in Brief: Mass mobilisation in Brussels and flights grounded
Credit: Belga

Today sees nationwide strikes disrupt much of Belgium's transport networks – in particular, the aviation sector as action by various airlines coincides with those of G4S security staff. After much discussion about which flights would or would not be affected, it turns out that all departing flights from Belgium's principal airport have been cancelled.

Yet it isn't only airline passengers who have been impacted; public transport operators have also seen swathes of employees protest against the cost of living crisis that has greatly hit household budgets as wages struggle to keep up with inflation. In Brussels, only one metro line is running and buses and trams have also been affected.

The demonstration itself is also causing roads to be closed and bus routes diverted as a procession of over 80,000 (according to organisers) marches through the streets of central Brussels.

Yet despite making their voice unmistakably heard, it is not clear whether the demands of protesters will be met. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has called attention to Belgium's automatic wage indexation law and argues that this has already seen wages increase far more than in neighbouring countries.

Indeed, the government is under pressure from employers' organisations who argue that the automatic wage increases are a serious financial burden to businesses, many of whom are putting off other investments as they struggle to keep up with rising inflation and salary costs. They have warned that this poses a threat to Belgium's ability to compete on the international market.

Have you been affected by the strikes? Let @Orlando_tbt know.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

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