World

Belgian general strike paralyzes air, rail traffic and idles companies throughout nation

  • Protesters slow down commuter traffic as part of a general strike, in Brussels, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Trade unions are capping a month of labor action against government austerity policies with a general strike that has paralyzed air and rail traffic and idled companies throughout Belgium. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

    Protesters slow down commuter traffic as part of a general strike, in Brussels, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Trade unions are capping a month of labor action against government austerity policies with a general strike that has paralyzed air and rail traffic and idled companies throughout Belgium. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters slow down commuter traffic as part of a general strike, in Brussels, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Trade unions are capping a month of labor action against government austerity policies with a general strike that has paralyzed air and rail traffic and idled companies throughout Belgium. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

    Protesters slow down commuter traffic as part of a general strike, in Brussels, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Trade unions are capping a month of labor action against government austerity policies with a general strike that has paralyzed air and rail traffic and idled companies throughout Belgium. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)  (The Associated Press)

  • Greenpeace activists stage a protest against overfishing, in front of the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. EU fisheries ministers from 28 European countries meet in Brussels to agree the 2015 fishing quotas for most stocks, including those in the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

    Greenpeace activists stage a protest against overfishing, in front of the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. EU fisheries ministers from 28 European countries meet in Brussels to agree the 2015 fishing quotas for most stocks, including those in the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)  (The Associated Press)

Trade unions are capping a month of labor action against government austerity policies with a general strike that has paralyzed air and rail traffic and idled companies throughout Belgium.

Monday's strike targets measures by the nation's business-friendly government to cut into employees' income, extend working time and restrict social services.

The strike also had an immediate international impact since Brussels Airport, a busy hub with connections throughout Europe and beyond, had no traffic whatsoever.

Airport spokeswoman Florence Muls said some 600 flights have been canceled, affecting 50,000 passengers.

The series of labor actions, the toughest in years, started last month with a demonstration that drew some 120,000 protesters.