Brussels Airport disputes understaffing claims as work-to-rule action has limited impact
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    Brussels Airport disputes understaffing claims as work-to-rule action has limited impact

    Credit: © Belga

    Flight punctuality was not significantly affected by a work-to-rule action that hit Brussels Airport on Tuesday, a representative of the airport said, saying that its main handling company did not have an understaffing issue.

    Nathalie Pierard, spokesperson for the Brussels Airport Company (BAC) told Belgian media that little disturbances were observed during the action, which kicked off at around 08:00 AM— even as airport officials had warned passengers to expect delays as a result of the protest.

    The work-to-rule action was carried out by employees of ground handler Swissport, who, in order to protest understaffing, stuck to executing only the tasks specifically outlined in their contracts and precisely followed safety and other regulations.

    A Spokesperson for Swissport told local media that management took the number of employees on shift  into account when drafting up working schedules, saying there was “currently no problem.”

    The action’s limited impact on air traffic was attributed to the fact that it was mainly concentrated in the Airport’s operation centre (APOC), which controls matters of staff and working schedules, according to reports.

    A trade union representative said that of the estimated 1,500 workers of the ground handler, “dozens” experienced staff shortages in different services, even as he admitted to being unable to provide an “exact number.”

    No further negotiations have so far been announced, but, with an agreement yet to be reached, union spokesperson Fouad Bougrine said that “the ball is now in the court of management.”

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times