Belgium hit by 24-hour general strike

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Belgium hit by 24-hour general strike

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Trains planes and buses are being especially hit by Belgium’s first general strike in almost two decades.

Held to coincide with the EU summit, the anti-austerity protest is aimed at the government as well as Europe’s leaders.

Unions have called the industrial action over plans to raise the retirement age and to make over 11 billion euros worth of public spending savings.

Passengers began to feel the strike’s impact last night.

One man said: “ Well I’m shocked because nobody is taking responsibility for it. Plus I am not from this country, this is my first visit to Belgium and I don’t know where to go.”

Another was frustrated by having just arrived back in the country.“I have just come back from holiday and I am being sent from one area to another in the station. No one is able to answer my questions and I can’t get home.”

The 24-hour stoppage could close the entire rail network along with schools and factories.

And the battle lines are being drawn as the government says it needs to make more cuts to bring the public sector deficit below the EU limit of three per cent of GDP.