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    Belgian railway strike confirmed for Saturday

    © Belga

    Belgian railway workers will be on strike on Saturday 17 August, the national railway company, SNCB, confirmed on Tuesday.

    The Syndicat independent pour cheminots (SIC), which represents railway staff, issued a strike notice earlier this month, complaining of a recurrent shortage of train guards. A subsequent meeting between the SNCB management and the railway union proved inconclusive and the SNCB is now preparing a guaranteed service “to limit as much as possible the inconvenience for travellers”.

    The railway company said in a press release that it recognised that the summer season “is not an easy one for its staff” and that it was “not always easy” for train guards to go on leave during the period. It added that it was “holding constructive talks with the social partners” and working “on concrete solutions”.

    At Tuesday’s meeting with the SIC, “management again gave an assessment of the situation,” the company said. “Despite a series of concrete commitments that had already been announced, the SIC nevertheless chose to use the strike weapon,” it added.

    Saturday’s strike, which coincides with the Pukkelpop Festival in Hasselt, is the second organised by the SIC in less than a month: railway workers also went on strike during the last weekend of July.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times