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    55 new airport police, strike actions off the table

    The police action led to long queues for passengers © Belga

    The work to rule by police at Brussels Airport which led to long queues during the Carnival holiday period is now over, unions said, after an agreement was reached with the government.

    The police had already announced that last Friday would be the end to this stage of their industrial action, but the possibility remained of other actions later.

    Then yesterday federal home affairs minister Pieter De Crem, who has authority over police matters, announced a breakthrough.

    It has been agreed that 55 extra officers will be immediately deployed to the airport,” De Crem told Belga.

    In the longer term we will also ensure that there are always 100 police officers present at the airport. It has therefore been decided to begin an extra campaign for the recruitment of 600 officers, with 400 destined for the federal police.”

    The police unions held a work to rule – sometimes known as a slow strike – to protest at a shortage of manpower and equipment. The action led to long queues at passport control for flights to destinations outside the Schengen area, with passengers advised to turn up three hours before their flight was due to take off.

    To meet the demands of unions on infrastructure, a proposed plan will be handed over to the Brussels Airport Company. Police currently work at five different locations within the airport. Unions want to cut the number to two.

    It is a good thing to have the conflict behind us,” De Crem said. “This will ensure that new actions during the coming holiday periods can be avoided.”

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times