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    Brussels Airport customs officials suspend actions

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The work-to-rule actions taken by the customs officers at Brussels Airport in recent days have been suspended after a promise of additional personnel. The unions were told by senior management of the customs department about the type of recruitments that are planned for the coming period. A first new group of at least 25 customs officers was to start at Brussels Airport in mid-November.

    “Normally only a small number of people are added, but now a big step is being taken in a very short period of time,” says ACV representative Ludwig Engels. Moreover, most newcomers will end up in the passenger team, “where the shortage is most acute.”

    According to the ACV, the unions were also told that exams were still in progress. The successful candidates were due to take up their posts by April next year.  The replacement of customs officers retiring or changing jobs would be accelerated in order to maintain the current workforce level.

    These promises were sufficient for Engels to call off  the work-to-rule operation. Engels is cautious and says the union will have a look at the situation in a few months to determine if progress has been made.

    On Monday, although customs officers at Brussels Airport systematically checked the baggage of passengers on certain flights, the inconvenience for passengers was limited, compared to last week, when there were waiting times occasionally of up to one hour while passenger baggage of all incoming flights was checked.

    Arthur Rubinstein
    The Brussels Times