Swissport baggage handlers threaten Brussels Airport with strike action

Union workers of the ground handling company Swissport International Ltd. have threatened to strike at Brussels Airport if a hiring plan is not produced by Monday.

Representatives of the Swissport unions ACV Puls, ACLVB/CGSLB and BBTK held talks with the management of the Brussels Airport handling company on Friday, to discuss concerns over understaffing problems at the airport.

“In all departments, there is a question of understaffing,” one union representative told Aviation24, noting that the workers are “already exhausted” by the beginning of the holiday period.

The unions are to ask for an emergency conciliation in order to find a structural solution if no concrete plan is submitted by the handler management on Monday at 15:00.

“But if employees are angry Monday afternoon, there is a risk that the 22:00 evening team will not start work,” said Fouad Bougrine of the CGSLB.

“From Monday evening, we will be able to strike within the APOC, the operational centre of the airport,” he added.

The Airport Operations Centre or APOC at Brussels Airport is the structural heart of the airport, which contains different airport partners, from baggage handlers, through to airlines and security services.

The unions say they are being constructive to ensure that passengers are not penalised although no agreement has yet been reached, with a union representative saying: “The management has promised to increase the numbers for next weekend but there are no guarantees for the rest of the summer.”