Brussels grinds to a halt as Belgian unions strike

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By Euronews
Brussels grinds to a halt as Belgian unions strike

Belgian unions staged a one-day walkout on Monday in protest at the new federal government’s planned austerity measures.

Public transport has ground to a halt in Brussels and nearly half of flights in and out of the city’s international airport have been axed.

Philippe Peers, secretary of CGSP union, said the action had been called because the government is “attacking the workers while giving gifts to big companies, to the rich.”

The government wants to cut welfare benefits and raise the retirement age to 67 by 2030 from 65 now.

In Brussels, locals had to find other ways of getting to work.

“It’s obviously disturbing for the working personnel and for all the inhabitants of Brussels,” said one man, who worked in the city’s EU district.

“The strike is always a good option if you know what you are fighting about. And I don’t want to be upset about it. So we are just getting on with our lives and getting to work on foot,” said another worker.

Brussels and two other nearby provinces were affected.

Unions are also threatening to hold a nationwide strike on December the 15th.

Trade unions say if the government doesn’t withdraw the austerity plan, they’ll paralyse the whole country next week with a wider general strike, reports Euronews’ Sandor Zsiros from the Belgian capital.