There will be no general railway strike in Belgium on 12 December, unions representing railway workers said on Monday.
The unions announced last week that they had filed strike notice for the 12th, but management at the national railway utility, HR Rail, rejected the notice, saying that the correct procedure had not been followed. The employees therefore risked sanctions if they went on strike.
“We do not wish to run any risks,” said Ludo Sempels, a representative of ACOD/CGSP Cheminots, the railway workers’ branch of the socialist public service federation.
“The establishment of a plan of action, with due respect for the regulations, is now more topical than ever and its implementation will be announced in the next few days,” union president Pierre Lejeune stated in a press release. He also commented that HR Rail’s reaction to the strike notice “is certainly not of a nature to ease the tensions within the Belgian railway” sector.
The socialist union said it would hold consultations with other workers’ organisations to decide on actions to be taken on 12 December and in the medium term.
It had originally been announced that the railway workers would mass outside HR Rail’s headquarters for a demonstration on 12 December. Then, on Friday, the strike notice was announced, but the unions’ objectives were not clear.
Some union sources said the notice was just meant to enable workers to take part in the mass gathering outside HR Rail headquarters, while others contended that it clearly meant a general strike.