Applicants for jobs at Brussels Airport were twice as likely to be turned down if they came from the Brussels region, according to Brussels labour minister Bernard Clerfayt, speaking to the economic affairs committee of the region’s parliament.
Brussels Airport recently held a jobs fair organised by Aviato, the airport’s employment agency. Some 1,500 interested job-seekers turned up. But when the applicants were put through security screening, a large number of the applicants from Brussels fell by the wayside. Even when they pass through other application procedures, candidates fell away when the business they were accepted for applied for them to have a security pass to allow them access to parts of the airport behind the gate.
Brussels Airport employs some 24,000 people working for 317 private companies. Of those currently employed, 10% come from Wallonia, 75% from Flanders and 15% from Brussels. Those figures include commercial enterprises like restaurants and shops in the departures area, as well as infrastructure companies like baggage handlers and ground crew.
At the time of the jobs fair in November, some 400 jobs were open to applications. But many failed to pass the security tests, said Clerfayt, despite most having provided a certificate of good conduct and morals, common with many job applications and essentially evidence of a clean police record. According to the minister, only 2% of those refused a pass appealed against the decision.
The decision in the end comes down to the federal police, but Clerfayt said the criteria they employ are unclear. And he announced that Brussels region minister-president Rudi Vervoort is to organise a meeting with police chief to ask for more clarity on the issue.
The meeting, he told the committee, aims “to get a picture of how things are at present, and to look into ways of giving more people from Brussels the chance to access these vacancies, without risking public safety.”