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Belgium: Docks paralysed and transport hit in anti-austerity strike

Belgium: Docks paralysed and transport hit in anti-austerity strike
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One of Europe’s biggest ports has been paralysed in a one day strike against austerity measures in Belgium, that has brought disruption to industry, transport and other services in parts of the country.

The docks at Antwerp have been hit by industrial action affecting four provinces in the first of a series of regional stoppages to be held every Monday until December 15, when unions plan a national day of action.

They are denouncing reforms planned by Belgium’s new centre-right government including raising the retirement age and cutting health and social security budgets.

Repercussions have been felt in the capital where flights were affected and picket lines forced passengers arriving at Charleroi Airport to access the site by foot.

A largely peaceful anti-austerity demonstration in Brussels earlier this month ended in violent clashes between a few hundred protesters and police.