Airport police unions issue half term strike threat

The four trade unions that represent police officers at Belgium’s largest airport are threatening to take strike action during the school half term half term holidays (Saturday 22 February to Sunday  1 March). The unions say that their members are unhappy at continued short-staffing and a lack of material for the Airport Police Service.   

The unions have issued a strike notice that covers the period between Monday 17 February and Tuesday 31 March. Two rounds of talks have produced insufficient results to satisfy the unions’ demands. Another round of talks with the Federal authorities is planned for next Wednesday.    

Joeri Dehaes of the Christian trade union ACV told journalists that "There are currently 140 too few police officers at the airport”.

"The authorities made proposals, but they were unacceptable to us. For example they suggested deploying rookie officers. However, we need people with experience”.  

A lack of material is also an issue. "Things are bad with regard to ICT, office furniture etc. People fall off there chair because it is 15 years old or even older”.  

The unions are also demanding that infrastructure be brought up to scratch. Here Brussels Airport, the company that manages the airport at Zaventem has a role to play.  

The National Chairman of the Neutral Police Union NSPV Carlo Medo told journalists that Carlo Medo, van NSPV, the fact that Belgium currently has a caretaker federal government isn’t making matters easier. The caretaker government workers with a system on monthly budgets that are the equivalent of 1/12 of the last budget approved when the government still had full powers, in this case early December 2018. Furthermore NSPV complains that there is a lack of vision.   

The unions say that funding needs to be looked at and point to 600,000 euro earmarked for extra funding for security at the airport after the terrorist attack there in March 2016 that has not yyet been used.  

"They say that due to the constraints of accountancy the money can’t be released. But then it is up to the politicians to ensure it can be released”, Mr Dehaes said.

Top stories