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    Strikes could happen at airports this summer, unions warn

    "They do 15 shifts in 16 days,” Callaerts said. “That’s how the shortage of staff is hidden.” Credit: © Belga

    The pressure continues to mount on Belgian air traffic controller Skeyes after unions said that they will not hesitate to hit back “hard” at the air traffic controller during the summer holidays if it fails to satisfy employee demains, according to a statement released at the weekend.

    “If the management provokes us, we will react immediately and hard. Before, during or after the holiday period”, a statement released Saturday by the Christian trade union ACV-Transcom stated.

    The union’s statement follows a comment by Skeyes CEO who at the start of the month said he was “confident” that the approach of summer holidays would lead to the end of the conflict.

    A new round of negotiations between unions and management kicks off on Monday, in what constitutes the most recent attempt to quench a social conflict ongoing since the start of the year.

    An agreement reached between management and socialist trade union ACOD is opposed by two other unions, including the Christian ACV, who say the agreement lacks “structural solutions.”

    The conflict opposing employees and management of the air traffic controller has shut Belgian airspace on numerous occasions, with the most recent being last Friday.

    The conflict has additionally resulted in significant delays, cancellations, or diversions of flights, both in and out of Belgium, and its cost has been estimated at at least €10 million by federal mobility authorities.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times