News ID: 57035
Published: 0337 GMT December 08, 2014

Strike paralyzes Belgium public transport

Strike paralyzes Belgium public transport

A strike staged by unions in Belgium against government-imposed austerity measures has paralyzed the country’s air and rail transportation.

Officials said on Monday that about 44 percent of the Brussels International Airport’s departing flights, 267 flights, were cancelled mostly as a result of a strike affecting baggage handlers, Press TV said.

All underground trains, buses, and trams were halted in the capital, Brussels, as well, while high-speed train links to London, France, and Germany were also suspended.

According to the Belgian rail operator SNCB, train movement came to a halt in the capital and the neighboring provinces of Flemish Brabant and Brabant Wallon.

The strike is the latest in a series of similar action leading up to a nationwide general strike expected to be held on December 15.

The strike movement started last month in Brussels against a government scheme aimed at scrapping plans for an automatic cost-of-living raise next year.

Protesters are rejecting public sector cutbacks and plans to raise the retirement age of workers to 67 from the current age of 65, while health and social security budgets are expected to be reduced.

Last month, a number of police officers were injured after clashes broke out in Brussels during a 100,000-person march.

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