image above is from Jan.2008 Day of Unity, not related to this story
Brussels - A nationwide strike of unions protesting the rising cost of living brought chaos to Belgium on Monday as trains, ports and public services shut down. In Brussels, tram lines were closed, bus lines were running only limited services, main-line railway stations shut down and traffic jams were widespread.
International train services were hard hit by the closure of two of Brussels' three main stations, with both the Thalys service to Paris and the cross-Channel Eurostar train - already on a reduced service after a fire last month - closed for the day.
In the province of Flanders, local services reported over 280 kilometres of traffic jams on Monday morning, an increase of 40 per cent over a normal working day. Workers also blocked the port of Antwerp, the country's main trading port.
In Wallonia, striking workers picketed industrial areas round the towns of Charleroi, while many shops and services remained closed.
The unions are protesting at the rising cost of living. However, the current financial crisis and the collapse of Belgium's biggest bank, Fortis, have largely wiped the strike off Monday's front pages, leaving it open to question how much impact it will have.
I believe the image above is from Belgium but not from this past Monday, from the
very talented photographer han Soete, who contributes labor images to Labourstart
BRUSSELS, Oct 6 (Reuters) - A nationwide strike over rising prices severely disrupted public transport in Belgium on Monday, forcing the cancellation of all high-speed international rail services in and out of the country.Check out the Reuters article for the reach of the 1 day action, eventually it will spread across the rest of the "free" world if nothing changes and fast, it was only 6 short months ago I was writing about rising prices and food shortages causing starvation in places like Haiti and Bangladesh and I warned that it was the beginning, I also wrote about a strike in Greece and since then France has successfully struck for a nationwide 7 hour day. Remember, it's our labor that keeps the gears of the industrial world turning, without us they are nothing.
Picketing outside the port of Antwerp restricted access, although workers at the port itself did not join the strike, Antwerp Port spokeswoman Annick Dirkx said.
Unions are protesting against what they say is the government's failure to respond to rising prices and are urging it to take steps to alleviate the impact of inflation.
They say they want to send a clear signal to the government before it presents its 2009 budget to parliament on Oct. 14.
"Purchasing power is really a point we want to stress," ACV trade union chairman Luc Cortebeeck said when the union announced the protest last month.