Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 27/04/2021

Coronavirus: European Commission proposes €3.7 million to support nearly 1,500 dismissed airport workers in Belgium

Today, the European Commission proposes to support close to 1,500 former workers of the aviation services company Swissport Belgium, who lost their jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis on air transport activities.

© Shutterstock / Mark Agnor

The proposed €3.7 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) will help those people find new jobs through further education or training, or support them to start their own business.

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on air transport and related services. With the €3.7 million from the EGF proposed today, we are showing solidarity with almost 1,500 former workers of Swissport Belgium. The financing will go towards support measures to help them adapt their skills to new job opportunities or start their own business.”

When Belgium and many other countries imposed restrictive measures last year to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the traffic of passenger planes at Brussels airport came to a halt. This caused great difficulties for air carriers and companies operating at the airport, and some of them had to close down. Swissport Belgium, one of the two ground handlers at Brussels Airport, was declared bankrupt three months after the activities at the airport stopped, and its 1,468 workers lost their employment.

Belgium applied for EGF support to help the dismissed workers in getting back into work, in particular those with no professional qualifications or a low level of education.

The measures co-financed by the EGF range from job-searching advice to apprenticeships, vocational training and other educational opportunities like language and ICT training, as well as support to start a business. Participants may receive additional incentives. This includes a bonus for breaking gender stereotypes when workers of the lesser represented gender opt for vocational training for significantly gender-unbalanced jobs. The regional employment services in Belgium will help the workers to arrange tailor-made trainings, mentoring and job-matching assistance.

The total estimated cost of the support measures is €6.2 million, of which the EGF will provide €3.7 million. The Belgian regional authorities will finance the remaining amount.

The Commission's proposal will need to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council.

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