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Major disruption expected during 10 March general strike in Belgium
A pan-industry general strike will bring widespread disruption to public services and transport on Friday (10 March), bringing to an end a week of industrial action in Belgium.
After Tuesday's strike by paramedics and firefighters, which led to clashes with police outside the European Commission's Berlaymont headquarters, and Wednesday's walkout by prison wardens, trade unions have called a 24-hour strike on Friday across all public services.
The civil service walkout will begin at 22.00 on Thursday evening and is intended to send a message to the government that public services in Belgium are important and should be protected.
As well as fighting for fair pensions, unions are protesting that the last major reform of pay scales for public service workers dates as far back as the 1990s. Other complaints include underfunding and personnel shortages.
The CGSP Cheminots and ACOD Spoor rail unions have confirmed that there will be widespread disruption to SNCB rail services across the country.
Public transport services in Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia will be severely disrupted, with strike notices filed at the Stib, De Lijn and TEC respectively.
Stib has advised passengers to "seek alternative solutions to get around Brussels on the day". Its call centre (070 23 20 00) and social media channels will provide real-time updates from 6.00 on Friday morning.
Border police are also planning to strike at Charleroi airport, potentially affecting access to flights.
Post offices are likely to be closed and mail deliveries disrupted. The strike will also be felt in schools and creches.
Waste collectors working for Bruxelles Propreté, many of whom were on strike on Wednesday, will also be taking part in Friday's general day of action.