A 24-hour general strike, staged throughout Belgium on Tuesday (8 February) by the Socialist trade unions, reflected discontent by workers at the Centre-Right government of Mr.
GV Demonstrators walking down street in Brussels.
GV PAN Group of demonstrators standing holding banner in street.
SV Police standing by in and near police vans.
GV PAN Demonstrators holding flags.
SV Demonstrators led by drummers marching down street.
CU PULL BACK PAN Shops and post-office closed.
CU PULL BACK Closed post-office.
GV Uncollected garbage in the street.
SV PULL BACK Bus stop.
GV Buses in garage.
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Background: A 24-hour general strike, staged throughout Belgium on Tuesday (8 February) by the Socialist trade unions, reflected discontent by workers at the Centre-Right government of Mr. Wilfried Martens and his planned economic austerity measures. The General Federation of Belgian Workers (FGTB) had called on its 1.2 million members to protest at what it regards as a threat to the living standards of ordinary citizens. The strike was observed almost totally in the southern French-speaking region of Wallonia, severely hit by the recession, but less so in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders. In Brussels, shops, post-offices, schools and factories were shut, and public transport was halted. The Christian trade unions nationally did not follow the strike but they had issued a warning that they will oppose any government attempt to restrict workers' guarantees. The government however, shows no sign of wavering in its intention to cut welfare spending and to exercise its power to 'rule by decree' for which it gained Parliamentary approval in January.