The national demonstration against the law on the wage standard planned to take place in Brussels on Friday is expected to disrupt the services of public transport company STIB in Brussels and De Lijn in Flanders.
As a result of the transport companies’ staff taking part in the demonstration, services on the tram, bus and metro networks could be disrupted. However, the extent of the disruption will be difficult to predict, according to ABVV, the socialist trade union organising the demonstration.
“This Friday, there will be a demonstration in Brussels against the current law on the wage standard. Unfortunately, we cannot indicate how many people will take part in the demonstration in advance,” an ABVV spokesperson told The Brussels Times.
The union has confirmed the demonstration will start at 11:00 AM at Brussels North station and will continue through Botanique, past Pacheco, the Central Station, and to Lemonnier, finally ending at Brussels South station.
As staff are expected to take part in the action, and the fact that demonstrators will be taking to the capital’s streets, STIB has asked travellers and commuters to look for other solutions to get around in Brussels on that day and to keep an eye on real-time information regarding bus, tram and metro services.
“STIB apologises for the inconvenience and will do everything in its power to keep its customers informed of the situation on the network throughout the day,” a press release said.
Meanwhile, De Lijn has said it is working out an alternative timetable for its passengers based on the staff available on the day. Since the introduction of a Flemish decree on the continuity of services, the company has to provide alternative services in the event of union actions, as is the case for national railways company SNCB.
However, De Lijn has already said services will be affected in some way and has advised travellers to check its website for detailed updates about affected services.
The SNCB networks should not be affected by the demonstration, as the organisation has not received any notice from its employees that they will be striking, a spokesperson told The Brussels Times.
In July, ABVV also organised a demonstration in Brussels against the wage standard law, which is put in place to keep the development of wage costs in the private sector in check to protect the competitiveness of companies from those in neighbouring countries.
However, according to the union, the law, dating back to 1996, “crushes the wages” of its members, and is preventing negotiations on fair wages whilst limiting the bargaining margin for wage increases.
With this protest, the union wants to put pressure on the government for an adaptation of the wage standard law “to the reality of the shop floor.”