Demanding government action to tackle the steep rise in the cost of living, around 70,000 Belgian workers marched in Brussels on Monday to demand higher wages.
Setting off flares, protesters carried flags and banners reading “More Respect, Higher Wages” and “End Excise Duties”.
It comes after one-day strikes at Brussels Airport and local transport networks nationwide that brought public transport to a virtual standstill.
Due to the extension of industrial action to security personnel, Brussels Airport said it could not allow passenger flights to depart. As a result, most arrivals have also been cancelled.
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Although some train lines were operating, in part to allow protesters to converge on the capital, local public transport operators offered skeletal services.
Reflecting sharp increases elsewhere, mainly due to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on supply chains and energy and commodity prices, Belgian inflation hit 9% in June.
With wages indexed to inflation, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Belgian workers were better protected than their counterparts in most other European Union countries.
Until the end of the year, the government had extended tax breaks on gas, electricity and fuel, De Croo told public broadcaster RTBF.
With Brussels Airlines pilots and cabin crew planning a June 23-25 strike over working conditions, further travel disruptions are expected later this week.
(With agency contributions)
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