Belgian workers for courier company DHL have walked out after being told their employer has abandoned plans to expand its facilities in Brussels. Talks between local authorities, the national government and the delivery firm on its plans to increase night flights fell through without agreement. It means up to 1,700 people could lose their jobs. “Thanks to the government,” complained one employee. “They’ve really done their thing this time. All these people are going to be unemployed.”
Negotiations broke down over a central government request for DHL to use quieter planes for the night-flights. Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt says he “regrets DHL’s decision not to make the extra effort asked for in order to reduce the noise pollution levels”. DHL wants to invest 25 million euros and take on 3,700 extra staff.
With Brussels now on the sidelines the firm is choosing between Vatry in eastern France and Leipzig in eastern Germany. The courier is owned by Deutsche Post, and it is thought to favour Leipzig as its future hub. The newly-built airport is 40 kilometres from the city, and with high unemployment in the region the German government is keen to encourage investors.