Belgium faces nationwide strike over government austerity
A nationwide strike over government austerity measures has begun in Belgium which has grounded international and domestic flights, halted public transport, and severed train links.
"All flights are cancelled. Everything is immobilized until the same time tomorrow," PressTV reported Belgium's Brussels Airport spokeswoman Florence Muls's statement.
Some 600 incoming and outgoing flights will not land at or take off from the airport during the 24-hour-long walkout, Muls added.
Domestic train services were also called off from 21:00 GMT on Dec.14 through Dec.15, said Belgian rail firm SNCB on its website.
The industrial action will include bus, train, and metro services as well as schools, businesses, factories, and government offices across the country on Dec.15.
The center-right government of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, who took office in mid-October, has proposed fresh austerity measures.
The plans, which are intended to save 11 billion euros (13.7 billion dollars) during the new Belgian administration's term in office, include increasing the retirement age and skipping a scheduled inflation-linked wage raise for 2015.
The public sector movement against the government's policies began early November with 100,000 people taking part in a march in Brussels, which was followed by a series of strikes.
Protest organizers say the Belgian administration's policies are unjust as they target workers instead of businesses.
The government, however, claims it needs the austerity programs to keep the budget deficit within the European Union constraints.