Transit Strikes Impact Holiday Travelers Across Europe

Posted December 22nd, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Transport strikes to protest austerity measures have paralyzed traffic in Belgium and France and are impacting holiday travelers across Europe.

Belgian public transit workers walked off the job Thursday, idling the Thalys rail line, which provides service to France, Germany and the Netherlands, and the Eurostar rail link to Britain. The Brussels Airport announced on its website overnight Wednesday there will be no train or bus service to the airport.

The strike is in reaction to austerity measures approved by Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo aimed at stabilizing Belgium's economy by lowering its deficit. The unions are angry about the substance of the reforms, which include raising the retirement age from 55 to 58, and the government's attempts to avoid negotiations with the trade unions.

Meanwhile in France, a strike by airport security personnel stretched into its seventh day, as the government explored options for replacing the strikers to avoid further travel slowdowns.

Workers in other countries, including Greece, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus and Britain, have also held strikes in recent weeks to protest budgets cuts in their countries.