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National strike sees Brussels airport cancel all outgoing flights

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By Pedro Sacadura
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All departures out of the airport were cancelled on Monday after a general strike against the cost of living and wages took place in Belgium.
All departures out of the airport were cancelled on Monday after a general strike against the cost of living and wages took place in Belgium.   -   Copyright  Olivier Matthys/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Belgium's largest airport has been forced to cancel all outgoing flights, leaving thousands stranded after security staff and baggage handlers joined a national strike protesting increased workloads and low salaries.

Employees at the Brussels airport joined the sector-wide protest on Monday, compelling the air station to stop hundreds of departures from taking off, as well as arrivals from landing too.

In a statement, the airport said it had stopped all outgoing flights due to a security strike: 

"Due to the national manifestation and strike of a large part of the security staff of G4S on Monday 20 June, no passenger flights will depart from Brussels Airport. Passengers are urged not to come to the airport and to rebook their flight. Only arriving (and cargo) flights will be carried out."

Jo Vonrutten from the FGTB union told Euronews that the staff are overworked and underpaid.

"We are taking part in this strike because we have a lot of stress on the airport," Vonrutten said.

"We are doing our job with not enough people. We need people who are qualified. We also want to have more money for the weekends we work. We have lots of problems finding people."

People arriving at the airport in an attempt to get home told Euronews that they "weren't provided with any alternative" and that there will "only be a solution by the end of the week".

Things are likely to get worse too, with planned pilot and cabin crew strikes due to start on Thursday.

Unions say 80,000 people took part in Monday's national strike, which disrupted transport routes across the Belgian capital throughout the day.