The employee unions (ACV/CSC Puls, ACLVB/CGSLB and BBTK/SETCa) and the management of the handling company Swissport at Brussels Airport gathered around the table on Friday as staff representatives denounced an understaffing and demanded a hiring plan. According to Fouad Bougrine of CGSLB, it is thanks to the intervention of the unions that a strike was avoided on Friday.
If the management of Swissport does not present a concrete plan for the staff before Monday at 15:00, the unions will ask for an emergency conciliation in order to find a structural solution. This meeting should take place on Monday evening or Tuesday morning at the latest. “But if employees are angry Monday afternoon, there is a risk that the 22:00 evening team will not start work. From Monday evening, we will be able to strike within the APOC, the operational centre of the airport,” said Fouad Bougrine.
APOC regroups different airport partners, such as baggage handlers, airlines and security services. It ensures that the right people are sent to the right places.
According to the unions, the situation is “unsustainable”. “In all departments, there is a question of understaffing and at the beginning of the period of holidays, the workers are already exhausted. In January already, the unions had reported that the current level of staff would not be sufficient for the summer.”
Unions say they have been constructive to ensure that passengers are not penalised. “The management has promised to increase manpower for next weekend but there are no guarantees for the rest of the summer yet.”