Updated: Baggage handlers strike in Belgium affecting passengers
Baggage waiting to be collected by owners in Belgian airport
Update 17 May 2013 15:19
The industial conflict gripping the baggage handler Swissport has finally been resolved. The workers have agreed to go back to work and the carousels are slowly turning back to work. Baggages are being loaded and unloaded normally. Additional manpower have been deployed to help resolve the back log. Because of the delay, foul odour, like rotten fish, permeates the air in the baggage reclaim area. Making you wonder what are in the held up baggages. Authorities say that it would take a couple of days before the passengers could be reunited with their luggages. Most airlines send the baggage to the passengers by courier, while other airlines give the passengers a call to pick up their luggage. If you happen to be one of the passengers caught in this conflict you can call your airline or check their websites for information on how to collect your bags.
14 May 2013 – Thousands of bags piled up at Brussels Airport on Tuesday and dozens of flights were cancelled as baggage handlers staged a third consecutive day of strike action to protest staff shortage.
At least 49 flights, or seven percent of the airport’s total air traffic, were cancelled Tuesday and several others were delayed due to the strike by workers at Swissport Handling.
Swissport is one of two companies that handle passenger luggage at the airport and is used by nearly 30 airlines, including German carrier Lufthansa and Belgium’s Brussels Airlines.
Despite several hours of negotiations between union representatives and Swissport officials, no agreement has yet been reached.
In the halls of Belgium’s main airport, some 20,000 bags have piled up in a secure area since the strike began on Sunday.
Swissport workers say they are being overworked and that they are in urgent need of reinforcements. According to unions, they are sometimes only two people to load an aircraft — having been at least four previously.
Many passengers have been forced to bring only hand luggage to make sure they get their belongings onboard with them on their flights.
For passengers arriving in Brussels, many of them have seen their luggage being blocked inside the airport. Their bags will be returned to them once the handlers resume work again.