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Swissport officially declared bankrupt, unions react

Credit: Belga

The Commercial Court of Brussels made the bankruptcy of Swissport Belgium official on Tuesday, the unions BTB-ABVV and ACV-Transcom announced.

Swissport Belgium SA and its subsidiary Swissport Belgium Cleaning SA announced that it had filed for bankruptcy for its ground handling and cleaning services just seven days before Brussels Airport is set to resume flights.

Swissport was responsible for 60% of handling at Brussels Airport, with the remaining handling done by Aviapartner.

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Nearly 1,500 jobs are reportedly under threat, with 30% of the jobs held by citizens of Brussels, as previously reported.

“We didn’t expect a bankruptcy at all, but rather a thorough restructuring,” Sandra Langenus of the General Federation of Belgian Labour (FGTB) told the RTBF. “So it was a shock, especially for the workers, but also for us,” she said.

In fact, the union had contact with management “just last week,” according to Langenus, “and they always said they were going to table a restructuring plan.”

“Swissport’s bankruptcy came hard,” BTB-ABVV also said, “especially since we know that  management has kept its staff on the line for weeks with partial or wrong information.”

Three curators have been appointed to deal with this file and to decide whether or not to continue activities, the unions said.

“The 1,500 employees of Swissport can count on their trade union BTB to defend their interests with the curators,” BTB-ABVV said, adding that “it goes without saying that BTB maintains close contact with these curators in order to closely follow the progress of the case.”

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times