The ongoing work to rule by police at Brussels Airport will come to an end after tomorrow, police unions said in a press release.
The action started on 21 February, the day schools broke up for the carnival holiday, times to coincide with one of the busiest periods of the year for the airport.
The result was long queues at security checkpoints, and the airport advising passengers to turn up for their flights one hour earlier than usual – advice that was sometimes not enough to stop people missing their flights.
Police are protesting at the continuing lack of action by management to remedy their complaints of a lack of manpower and of important equipment, not least hand sanitiser, which the squad chief had to buy for his officers, at a time when concern about coronavirus infection is at a peak.
The action had originally been planned to last throughout the holiday, in other words for another week, but unions are calling a halt “to give negotiations as much chance as possible,” they said.
The effects had been easing off, in the meantime, with little disruption on Wednesday, and little expected on the days remaining. The main effects were felt among passengers on flights outside the Schengen area.
Federal home affairs minister Pieter De Crem (CD&V) said earlier in the week he was prepared to step in to unblock the situation. He is due to meet senior management of the police this week, and unions next week.
“We are counting on the minister to do everything to see that the agreements from 2015 and 2016 are respected, for staff as well as for logistical material,” unions said in a communique.
“We are counting on the authorities responsible to take the bull by the horns, and give us the guarantee that these modern and essential materials will be delivered to the airport in the briefest of delays.”
The action will continue tomorrow, but will be suspended from Saturday, although the unions stressed they could be started again at any point should the planned talks fail to show promise.