One of the Belgian unions in the public sector threatens a general indefinite strike against the austerity plans of the Michel cabinet. The socialist government union ACOD in Belgium filed a strike notice on Monday, because the union is assuming actions will follow the national strike on December 15. The Belgians go on strike for more jobs, a just income, more federal social security, and more fiscal justice.
According to Annik Dirkx, spokeswoman for the Port of Antwerp, it's extremely difficult to get an idea of the costs of the previous strike on November 24. "It's about direct costs, but equally about less visible costs that occur further down the chain. All in all, the strike will have cost the port several million Euro. In addition to the financial window, there is also the image aspect: despite the fact that the strike wasn't directed against the port, but against federal government reforms, the port was hit heavily, during times when competition had a strong presence. Fortunately, we always managed to quickly regain the ground we lost due to the strike. In this case, all ships that lay waiting as a result of the strike, were dealt with within 24 hours."
Preparing for Monday
They're well prepared for the December 15 strike. "All port users are making preparations by informing their customers about the strike, and offering them the opportunity to (un)load goods earlier or later, for instance. That means the impact on the day of the strike can be limited, simply because we are able to take measures."