The National Security Agency, part of the foreign affairs ministry, has contradicted a claim made this week by Brussels labour minister Bernard Clerfayt that applicants for jobs at Brussels Airport were less likely to succeed if they came from Brussels, as opposed to Flanders or Wallonia.
Clerfayt was referring to a recent jobs fair organised for the airport, where there were 400 jobs vacancies advertised. The various businesses at the airport employ some 24,000 people. However when it came to applications for security passes for new employees, the private businesses that had taken them on found that Brussels-based applicants were less likely to pass the security screening than other applicants. Overall, 75% of current employees come from Flanders (the airport is situated in Flemish Brabant province), 15% from Brussels region and 10% from Wallonia.
Now the foreign ministry has challenged Clerfayt’s claim that 50% to 75% of Brussels applicants for security clearance – people who had been successful in gaining a job with one of the private companies operating at the airport – had failed the screening. According to Bruzz, the government agency sets the figure closer to 20%-25%, a good deal lower, and not noticeably higher than the percentage for applicants from Wallonia and Flanders. That figure was also confirmed by the directorate-general of the airport itself, and by question to the employment agencies Actiris and VDAB as well as employers at the airport.
However one of Clerfayt’s claims – that the security checks carried out on airport staff are too wide-ranging and go beyond pure security concerns – was confirmed by the Christian trade union ACV/CSC. Every year, the union said, dozens of members report that their security clearance has been withdrawn for reasons that remain unclear.