Flights cancelled during national strikes in Belgium

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BRUSSELS, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- All flights in and out of Belgium have been cancelled for a day due to strike action, the country's air traffic control has announced on Tuesday.

The day of national strikes, called by Belgium's three major trade union federations, follows a disagreement over wage growth, which is limited to 0.8 percent for the next two years.

They are calling for an increase in wages, benefits and pensions to what they believe is a reasonable living level, as well as improvements to work-life balance.

The strike is expected to run for 24 hours starting from 10 pm on Tuesday.

"Six hours before the start of the national strike, the company does not have sufficient insight into the staffing levels during the industrial action that will start tonight," said Air traffic agency Skeyes in a statement on Tuesday.

The agency said its responsibility was to guarantee safety, and it could not do so "in view of the great uncertainty about the occupation of some crucial posts".

Many airlines had already cancelled or rescheduled flights ahead of some expected disruption during the strike.

However, government and military flights, as well as medical and emergency landings, will not be affected.

The national Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB) expects half of the trains to continue operating throughout Wednesday.

In Brussels, the circulation of trams, buses and metros may be highly disturbed, warned the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (STIB) on Monday.

The port of Antwerp will likely by impacted with losses of several million euros and the port of Ghent will be almost entirely paralyzed, reports the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Hospitals, large companies and retail stores will also suffer disruptions. Enditem

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