On the morning of Tuesday November 16th, the police in Belgium carried out strict border controls in the airports of Brussels Zaventem, Charleroi and Bierset (Liège). The unions declared that the action was a protest against the end of career revision, as well as against the blocking of negotiations on salary increase.
According to the spokesperson of Brussels Airport, Nathalie Piérard, about 200 passengers missed their flight because of the strike. At 10:30 a.m., 30 flights were delayed by up to an hour and a half. Brussels Airport is advising passengers to turn up at the airport well in advance of departure in order to accommodate for any potential delays.
The stricter controls lasted about an hour in each of the airports concerned. In parallel, the police unions conducted a demonstration on Tuesday morning in the streets of the Law and Belliard in Brussels.
On Monday November 15th, an action already took place during the Te Deum of the King’s Day in the cathedral of Saints-Michel-et-Gudule in Brussels. The activists booed the authorities as they entered the religious building.
Further actions are expected throughout the week. The unions complain about the lack of listening of the Minister of the Interior. They are demanding salary increases which they have been denied for 20 years. They also denounce the suppression of the conditions of early retirement specific to the profession.
Similar to the strike held on October 29th, the police unions are targeting airports (Zaventem and Charleroi) and international train stations (Brussels-Midi and Liège Guillemins).
For the union, Syndicat National du Personnel de Police et de Sécurité, these actions are a demonstration with a particular set of goals. As Fabrice Discry, permanent representative for the provinces of Liege and Namur, explained: “We apologize to travelers. But they must also realize that if the number of people going abroad increases constantly, as is the case, but the means allocated to controls stagnate, these queues and these waits will be the daily life of travelers.”
These actions will be announced day by day. They concern the activities of the federal police whose roles are multiple. The unions will ensure, throughout this week, to raise awareness to the users of all the fields in which the federal police intervenes.
Due to the perceived lack of response from the ministry of the interior, the unions have promised the Minister Annelies Verlinden a tough end of year. They have already announced a strike notice for new actions, beyond those of this week.