After already several days of strike action in Brussels this week, the fire brigade will continue their protest until Saturday morning, announced Eric Labourdette, representative of the Free Syndicate for Public Administration (VSOA) on Thursday.
The strike started on Monday and will continue to cause disruptions until the end of the week, especially in Brussels. Six fire engines will be available in the capital on Thursday instead of the usual 11, Labourdette told Belga News Agency. The staff shortage is expected to be even worse on Friday 10 March – a day of sector-wide strikes across Belgium.
On Tuesday, between 500 and 600 members of the fire service formed a united front (composed of unions ACV, ACOD and VSOA) to demand more staff, greater resources, and better working conditions.
A number of representatives met with Federal Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden and Federal Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke but were not satisfied with the outcome.
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According to Labourdette, further actions may extend beyond this week of union protest. General meetings with firefighters and unions are scheduled to take place next week, with the first one taking place in Brussels on Monday.
Labourdette welcomed the decision by Brussels State Secretary Pascal Smet, who is responsible for the fire and emergency services, to expand recruitment reserves in Brussels. "Once again, Brussels is leading by example," he said.