Police threaten to work to rule at airports

Belgian police are launching protest actions in support of a pay claim.  Both federal and local police will join the protests that start on Monday. Unions have given notice of strike action that could cause disruption from now until the New Year.

Police unions are seeking better pay and are opposing changes to retirement pension regulations.  They are also fighting federal cuts that mean the federal police will have to get by with 100 million euros less over the next four years.

“Since the beginning of the year we’ve been negotiating a pay rise.  It’s the first in two decades” says Joery Dehaes of the Christian union.  “Talks broke down completely after the last government budget talks.  We are going to work to rule e.g. at the airports.  A fine-free week is also a possibility.  Our protests can take many forms.”

Mr Dehaes says that at the budget talks the decision was taken no monies could be freed up.

“In June a 35-euro rise was on the table.  Today that is no longer possible.”

Belgian home minister Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat) says she‘s prepared to look for a way of improving officers’ statutes, but adds “there is insufficient budgetary leeway to meet the high expectations of the unions”.

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