The VSOA union, which is one of the unions representing sea pilots at the Port of Antwerp, went on strike for 24 hours from 5pm on Thursday December 17.
Port of Antwerp press officer Annik Dirx told CM that, although some pilots were still at work, even during the night, 15 ships have been affected by the strike.
At around 8pm, the organisation responsible for navigation on the River Schelde which leads to the Port of Antwerp, stopped vessel traffic on the river because it could not guarantee safety of vessels due to the strike. This shutdown continued for around three hours.
Dirx criticised the union for not announcing the strike beforehand. “Our companies did not have time to prepare them for the strike and this is completely unacceptable.”
The striking pilots are angry that government regulations mean they can only work at sea, as opposed to working on the river, which is reportedly better paid.
Union representatives were meeting the government minister responsible at the time of publication.