Customs work-to-rule at Brussels Airport

Trade unions representing customs officers at Brussels Airport have launched a work-to-rule protest today.  They are demanding more staff and that customs officers get priority when it comes to getting the corona jab, just like the police with whom they closely co-operate.  The protest can cause some disruption to arriving passengers.

The unions point to an increasing workload that today also includes combating terrorism and that hasn’t been matched by any increase in staff numbers.  Brexit, checks on non-essential journeys and the fight against organised crime have all added to the work.

Trades unionist Luc Martony says the government likes to publicise good results made by customs, but points to the ongoing restructuring operation that means fewer and fewer customs officers are going out on the beat.

The unions want customs officers to receive priority when it comes to getting the corona jab “just like the police”.  The current situation is seen as unfair because customs officers are in contact with the public at large to the same extent.

Today’s action should be seen as a warning to the authorities.  Depending on the response more protests could be on the way.

The expectation is there will be limited disruption to arriving passengers, while the impact on freight will be greater, though the unions stress all shipments linked to combating the pandemic will remain unaffected.

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