A “wave of strikes” will affect the country during a day of trade union action on Friday, organisations representing workers warned on Tuesday. Several issues explain this situation: the discontent linked to the pension reforms which the government wishes to implement, the failure of negotiations linked to strenuous occupations, and growing unrest around purchasing power. Train operation will be unaffected unlike TEC buses, trams and metros notably in Liège and Charlerloi. Buses, trams and metros on the STIB network should be operating normally.
Trade unions said that they were “surprised” by the extensive willingness amongst workers to go on strike. According to Pia Stalpaert, the President of the CSC Food and Services union, numerous companies in the food industry are likely to be closed on Friday. She is expecting a multitude of strikes, applying in equal measure to the security, caretaking and cleaning sectors.
The increasing unrest may consequently be perceptible on Friday, as much in the south as the north of Belgium. The socialist trade union says that “A wave of strikes” is planned.
The willingness to go on strike will thus be, as is traditional, very strong in the Charleroi and Liège regions. In these two regions 24 hours of strikes have been ordered by the FGTB (General Federation of Belgian Labour). Moreover, in terms of numbers, the next largest contingent will be the joint trade union front in Charleroi. Consequently, TEC buses, trams and metro trains are likely to be highly disrupted in these two cities.
That having been said, rail users should have no such problems on Friday. The same position will be true for STIB, the public transport company in Brussels, which is not participating in the trade union strike action on Friday.