Three days of railway strikes instead of one this month in Belgium

Three days of railway strikes instead of one this month in Belgium
Credit: Belga/Hatim Kaghat

Following the earlier announcement of a railway strike by the three major unions on Tuesday 29 November, the small train drivers' union (ASTB/SACT) has now also issued a 48-hour strike notice for 30 November and 1 December.

On Tuesday, the ACOD Spoor, ACV Transcom and VSOA Spoor unions denounced the lack of investment and efforts to eliminate the staff shortage: some 300 technicians and train supervisors. As a result, staff have to work a lot of overtime while their leave requests are denied.

They already threatened a strike on 29 November, but the inconvenience for train travellers may get worse as the train drivers' unions are also planning to strike for the two days after that: on Wednesday 30 November and Thursday 1 December.

In its strike notice, the union calls on all train drivers to put their money where their mouth is "with this first work stoppage of 48-hour," and "show train drivers also count." The union is denouncing the rising workload and deteriorating working, as well as the increasing unsafety.

"During the first half of this year, the number of signal overruns increased by 83%," the announcement by union chair Tiffanny Deruiter reads. "This is unacceptable. Safety is at risk."

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However, whether it will really come to a 48-strike remains to be seen, as a mediation meeting is scheduled to take place between the management and the unions on Friday.

Earlier this month, railways unions also held a strike as part of the general day of action on 9 November to draw attention to the lack of purchasing power and to give a voice to those who are struggling but fall short of the requirements for social tariffs.

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