Belgium Unlocked

9 November national strike: What you need to know

9 November national strike: What you need to know
The national strike on 9 November will affect companies and services throughout Belgium. Credit: Belga.

For the fourth time this year, all trade unions in Belgium are organising a national day of "inter-professional" action on Wednesday 9 November. Disruptions started on Belgium's rail services from 22:00 Tuesday night. Here's all you need to know to avoid getting caught out.

The socialist, Christian and liberal trade unions' demands include a price cap on gas and electricity and an amendment to the wage norm law. Employer attacks on the index must also stop. The unions want to increase the purchasing power of their members and give a voice to those who are struggling but fall short of the requirements for social tariffs.

"[Actions] will range from strikes to awareness-raising events, such as soup kitchens," Christian Trade Union Federation secretary-general Marie-Hélène Ska told Le Soir.

"In sectors where we have already mobilised, adding one more strike day becomes difficult," Ska added. "And where wages are not high, losing a day's pay is complicated. Not to mention the situation of certain companies that are already in difficulty and would suffer from a day of work stoppage."

Areas most affected

Airports

In light of the strike, Brussels Airport has preemptively cancelled over half of all flights set to depart on Wednesday.

Charleroi Airport has announced that it will cancel all commercial flights scheduled on 9 November.

Trains

Disruptions are expected for Belgium's railway company SNCB, the company confirmed. Travellers should be aware that strike action typically starts at 22:00 the previous night, meaning that for those travelling on Tuesday night should do so before this time.

TEC (Wallonia's public transport operator) has released a document that will be updated; it states which lines will be affected by the strikes.

Buses, trams and metros

Public transport operators in Brussels and Flanders (STIB and De Lijn) have announced significant disruptions and hope to keep passengers informed via their various information channels (websites and social media channels).

Tram and bus services in Flanders will also be impacted by the strike. De Lijn released a route planner. Services that are cancelled due to the strikes will not appear on the website or the app.

Shopping

Supermarkets will also be affected as employees at Carrefour, Delhaize and Lidl have announced their intention to participate. Picket lines can be expected in front of various supermarkets across the country. Several shopping centres in Wallonia will also be picketed.

Public services

The trade union CGSP-Police is also participating resulting in many police stations around Belgium being closed to public.

In the educational sector, all unions are participating and individuals can choose whether to join in the actions such as strikes or setting up posts at school entrances to hand out pamphlets to parents to raise awareness.

Bpost will also be affected by pickets in front of the headquarters and its branches, very likely impacting mail and parcel deliveries.

Hospitals

The health sector will see picket lines set up at the Erasme, Saint-Jean and Delta hospitals, and at the Clinique de l'Europe on the Sainte-Elisabeth and Saint-Michel sites. These will not block access but it is expected that the operating theatres and consultations will only work in emergencies.


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