Cost of Living Crisis: 70,000 Protest as National Strike Cripples Nation

Illustration picture shows a national demonstration of socialist (ABVV-FGTB), christian (ACV-CSC) and liberal (ACLVB-CGSLB) unions, defending purchasing power and demanding an amendment to the 1996 wage standards law that regulates wage developments in Belgium, Monday 20 June 2022, in Brussels. BELGA PHOTO NOE ZIMMER (Photo by NOE ZIMMER / BELGA …

A national strike crippled the transport infrastructure of Belgium with around 70,000 people taking to the street on Monday to protest the effects of inflation.

Trains, buses, trams and air travel have all been crippled by a national strike launched by trade unions from across Belgium in response to rampant inflation within the country, as well as the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Monday’s industrial actions in Belgium preceded events due to take place across Europe, with the UK experiencing massive rail and subway strikes on Tuesday.

According to a report by The Brussels Times, Monday’s strikes have had seriously damaging effects on transport in the country, with the capital’s main airport going so far as to cancel every single one of its 232 outgoing flights due to a lack of staff.

Meanwhile, activists took to the streets of the Belgium capital to protest ongoing hardship, with police saying that 70,000 attended the demonstrations, though event organisers reportedly put the number a bit higher at around 80,000.

“The workers are dying! We can’t take it anymore!” one demonstrator told La Libre Belgique, while another said that the “peanuts” being handed out by the government to help tide over those struggling with the current crises were not enough to keep people fed.

Further strikes by those within the airline industry are also scheduled to take place further on in the week.

The demonstrations in Belgium mirror many other actions due to take place in Europe, with many across the continent struggling to make ends meet.

For example, the was hit by an extremely disruptive rail strike on Tuesday, with some London Underground staff also due to take part in industrial action to agitate for a pay rise.

Government ministers in the country have placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of union officials, with one even levelling the accusations that some organisations are bribing workers to protest.

Bigwigs at the centre of the strike however have insisted that government is to blame for the forthcoming strikes, with Mick Lynch of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union claiming that the Conservative party have prevented a deal from being done.

Teachers and medical workers within Britain’s socialised healthcare system have now hinted that they may take similar action if their pay packets are not padded to meet the increased strain caused by inflation.

“The mood among teachers has changed,” said the head of one teachers’ union. “Last year the issue was mainly workload. This year it is workload and pay.”

The union representative went on to say that if there was not a significant improvement on the 3 per cent pay hike offer presented by the government’s education secretary, the organisation would move to poll its members on whether or not to take industrial action.

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