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14 December industrial action in Belgium: What to expect

20:29 12/12/2018

A "wave of industrial action" against Belgian pension reforms and the cost of living could bring disruption on Friday - with a rally planned in Brussels and blockades in parts of Wallonia.

In the capital, unions are planning a rally outside the Federation of Belgian Businesses, next to Bozar, from 11.00 on Friday. "We will have some surprises up our sleeve," said Robert Verteneuil, president of the FGTB trade union.

The industrial action will mostly affect Wallonia - and particularly Charleroi and Liège - where there are plans to blockade industrial estates, factories, large companies and shops. Staff at hospitals, retirement homes, social services and waste disposal dumps in the region are among those planning to strike.

There will be major disruption to TEC public transport services in Wallonia - but commuters using the SNCB, Stib in Brussels and De Lijn in Flanders should find a normal service operating. "If there is any disturbance to rail services, it will be very limited," the SNCB said.

At Brussels Airport, baggage handler Swissport could be hit by sudden strike action. The airport is advising passengers to travel with cabin baggage only and to allow plenty of extra time to get through security.

"Brussels Airport and its partners will do everything in their power to limit the impact of the demonstration on passengers," the airport said. "Nevertheless, delays are possible."

Written by The Bulletin