24-hour general strike cripples Belgium

Most of Belgium was bought to a virtual standstill on Friday as a 24 hour general strike affected transport, schools and government services.

The BBC reports the industrial action, the first general strike in Belgium since 1993, forced the cancellation of trains, including international services such as Eurostar.
The protest was called by Belgium’s Socialist FGTB/ABVV union in protest at government plans to stop workers retiring early with full benefits.

Postal workers at sorting offices walked out on Thursday evening and airport authorities warned of possible disruption to flights.

There were also pickets and blockades at factories and ports. Antwerp, one of Europe’s largest ports, was shut for business as dockers refused to work.

Talks between the government and the unions are expected to continue over the weekend.

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