National strike: 'Severe' public transport disruptions expected on Monday

National strike: 'Severe' public transport disruptions expected on Monday
STIB metro line. Credit: Belga

Public transport in Belgium will be severely disrupted on 22 May – the Monday after the extended Ascension weekend – as the national trade unions will be taking to the streets for a demonstration in Brussels.

Various trade union organisations in the country are joining forces to call for a general mobilisation against assaults on workers' right to strike and social dumping – the practice of employers who use cheaper labour than is usually available to reduce their costs.

The action will cause heavy disruptions across the capital's public transport network throughout the day.

Brussels public transport company STIB announced that it is expecting "severe disruptions on its bus, tram and metro network throughout the day" during the demonstration in Brussels. Unionised STIB staff members will also be participating in the action, which will result in public transport services being limited throughout the day.

Additionally, certain bus and tram lines in the capital city will be affected due to the passage of the march itself. Therefore, STIB advises travellers to look for alternative solutions for their journeys that day.

On 22 May, passengers can remain informed in real-time through STIB's website, app, social media and on screens at stops and in stations. From 06:00, STIB Customer Care will also be available to answer passengers' questions, via phone 070 23 2000 and social media.

By contrast, Belgian railway company SNCB is not expecting any demonstration-related disruptions on its network on Monday.

"We received no strike notice and I have no knowledge of any issues, so all trains should be running as normal," SNCB spokesperson Bart Crols told The Brussels Times.

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In Flanders, public transport company De Lijn also warned of disruptions to its bus and tram services across all of Flanders due to the demonstration, and added that it "regrets any inconvenience this will cause its bus and tram passengers."

How large the impact on services will be on Monday, and where it will be felt the most, is not yet known.

Based on the number of drivers still willing to work, an adjusted timetable will be provided to offer a minimum service to travellers. Services will return to normal on Tuesday 23 May.

Those wanting to check if their bus or tram are advised to consult De Lijn's route planner (both on the website and in the app), which shows all lines that will be operated on the day of the demonstration. Rides that are not running will not be shown.

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