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Belgian PM slams Brussels airport disruption as "irresponsible"

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By Seamus Kearney
Belgian PM slams Brussels airport disruption as "irresponsible"

Brussels airport is only just starting to resume normal services after the deadly terrorist attacks of three weeks ago, but now it has been hit by strike action.

Stranded passengers have voiced anger over protest action by air traffic controllers, which led to 50 percent of flights being cancelled.

Passenger Viviane De Pauw told reporters: “It’s very shameful. That’s all I can say about it.”

Her husband said: “Help should be given to Zaventem airport to recover, but they’re doing just the opposite, adding insult to injury.”

Another woman passenger said: “It’s a lack of respect, towards the victims, towards their colleagues, towards the people who died here. It’s very disrespectful.”

Some traffic controllers rang in sick in protest over pension reforms, an action condemned by the government.

The Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, said: “I don’t accept that a minority makes such an irresponsible choice.

“I don’t want to be blackmailed. I want to add that doctors who are writing false sick notices will be sanctioned. This is a clear message to doctors.”

A union representing just over a quarter of the staff is unhappy with how negotiations over raising the pension age are being dealt with.