Ghent police officers threaten strike action during Ghent Festival

Policemen and policewoman that work for the Ghent Local Police Service are threatening to strike during next month’s Ghent Festival. The four unions that represent police officers that work for the local police service in the East Flemish city have issued a strike notice. The strike notice was issued due to discontent at understaffing. The Ghent Local Police Service is understaffed by more than 100 police officers. The unions are demanding the urgent recruitment of extra police officers.     

Koen Anread of the police union NSPV told VRT News that “It isn’t normal that shifts have to be filled voluntarily by staff. There is a huge staff shortage caused by inadequate recruitment. As a result of this police officers are unable to take leave”.  

Mr Anraed added that not only is the safety of police officers at risk, but also that of the general public.

"People have to wait a long time before some actually comes to them in response to a call out. There is a staff shortage of between 100 and 150 officers”.    

The strike notice covers the period between 1 July and 30 September and as such includes the Ghent Festival that runs from 19 to 28 July. “There is a great willingness to strike among the rank and file”, Mr Anraed concluded.