At least 30,000 demonstrators – including bus-loads from those formerly made redundant at General Motors’ Opel plant at Antwerp – are expected at this Sunday’s (11 November) huge demonstration in Genk.

Ford has announced plans to shut the Genk plant with the loss of 4,300 jobs, but Belgian unions are estimating this could rise to a total of 10,000 when the supply chain is taken into account.

Separately, the FGTB-ABVV union says it is disappointed at this week’s European Works Council meeting in Cologne to discuss Genk, that appears to have been disrupted by protesters attempting to gain access to the site.

“A lot of time was lost to talk to the European management,” FGTB-ABVV union cabinet staff member, Rudi Kennes told just-auto from Belgium. “We were pretty occupied by negotiating with the police…so the meeting was a little bit disjointed. Because of that it was a short meeting.

“We are fully occupied by organising the demonstration on Sunday so I don’t think any new initiatives [will happen].”

Kennes added there would be around “four or five buses” from Antwerp, including one or two filled with former Opel workers for Sunday’s mass rally.

“[They] want to express their solidarity,” said Kennes.