Several clashes took place this Monday morning at the gates of various companies, between union activists on the one hand, and workers who chose to go to work or management staff on the other. At Ineos in Zwijndrecht (Antwerp region), the police were called in to help some workers get through a union blockade. “We have shut down several operating units as a preventative measure. Others must stay active to avoid a week-long delay if we have to restart them”, pointed out Patrick De Deken, a manager at Ineos in Zwijndrecht.
Close by, BASF is facing maintenance issues because of a blockade which stopped anyone going in all morning. “The night-shift team has had to manage the facility”, explained a spokesperson. The next night-shift workers were expected at approximately 2.00pm.
The Belgian Federation for Chemistry and Life Science Industries, essenscia, was pleased to announce this morning that “most of the necessary safety personnel gained access to company sites.” It hopes that afternoon and evening shift workers will also get through.
“In most companies, there are really no problems when it comes to maintenance and safety, even if in some places night teams may have had to work longer shifts”, explained Patrick Lodewijckx, a union secretary from ABVV/FGTB. He adds, “Our aim is to adversely affect these companies; otherwise this type of movement is pointless. It is only the FEB and associates which have been speaking to the government”.
essenscia believes 80% of companies in the fields of Chemistry, Plastics and Life Sciences were affected by this industrial action in the regions of Hainaut, Luxembourg, Antwerp and Limburg. Production was disrupted in 60% of companies. The federation “warns that these actions seriously affect output and consequently may severely damage the sector’s reputation world-wide”.
In the Limburg region, there were clashes at the gates of Bandag (Dilsen-Stokkem), Rajapack (Tongres), but also in Genk (Transportlaan) and Houthalen (Centrum-Zuid).