Trade unions in Belgium have announced a protest for Friday, 16 December, which is expected to make Brussels Airport reduce its capacity to just 30% of the usual traffic.
The action was first supposed to take place on the 15th, but was postponed by a day due to the European Summit taking place in Brussels at that time. Although the summit lasts for three days, including on Friday, having the demonstration on the 16th will be less problematic.
The Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (CSC) and the General Labour Federation of Belgium (FGTB) first announced the call, with the Christian Trade Federation (ACV) and the Liberal Umbrella ACLVB joining the demonstration soon after.
We are organising [the protest] to challenge political decision-makers about the urgency of capping energy prices when a European Summit will take place on the same day in Brussels.Marie-Hélène Ska, Secretary-General of the CSC, told Belga News Agency
The unions are protesting against the soaring energy prices, demanding a cap, as well as more purchasing power, and especially chose the period of the European Summit to draw more attention to their action. A national strike on the same matter also took place last month, but after CSG and FGTB rejected a Federal Government proposal on mitigating the impact of energy costs, the decision was made to protest again.
To avoid any last minute chaos, Brussels Airport has announced it will be asking airlines to cancel part of their flights, as the majority of the staff working at the passenger screening and baggage handling services have expressed intent in taking part in the demonstration. “In order to guarantee security and to avoid chaos we will be asking airlines to cancel some flights as a precautionary measure”, a spokesperson for the airport informed.
The airport intents to only run at 30% of its usual capacity to ensure a smooth transit and the safety of Friday passengers. “Based on the information we have on the number of staff that plan to work, we have asked the airlines to reduce their capacity by 70%”, the spokesperson said.
Brussels Airlines, the largest operator at the airport, has already announced it will cancel or postpone two thirds of its flights scheduled for that day. Other airlines should announce similar measures soon, with passengers being informed of the changed itineraries.