Some 2,000 airport ground handlers have demonstrated outside European Union headquarters to protest plans to open up their sector to greater competition.

Monday's labor action was called by the European Transport Workers' Federation to highlight what it calls worsening labor conditions at Europe's airports. The union says pay is dropping while the work becomes tougher.

The protesters at the EU Commission held banners saying ''Those who work hard must also live well" and ''Don't mess with ground handling jobs."

The European Commission has found that the ground handling services which once were monopolies in many airports should allow for more market players in a quickly expanding airline industry to improve reliability, safety and security.