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New train strike notices for July

A potential familiar notification in July

A cascade of strike notices for July, if sanctioned, will make life miserable for travellers using the Belgian railway system. The Autonomous Syndicate of Train Drivers (ASTB), a small rail trade union, wants to strike for 48 hours between 12 and 14 July. The union has submitted a strike notice to this effect. The Independent Union of Rail Personnel (OVS in Dutch) wants to go on strike two days earlier. Both trade unions reject the proposals of  management concerning the wages of train drivers.

Three smaller rail unions (OVS, ASTB also Metisp-Protect) had already threatened strikes in June, but these notices were refused on procedural grounds by HR Rail, the official employer of railway staff.

Two of them have already re-entered strike notices. OVS announced on Thursday that it plans to start their strike on 10 July at 3 am and end it on 12 July at 3 am. A reconciliation meeting is planned on Tuesday 3 July.

The ASTB also reports having submitted a new notification. That strike would immediately follow that of OVS: from 12 July at 3 am to 14 July at 3 am. The trade union could not be immediately reached for clarification of their plans.

It is not yet clear whether Metisp-Protect will re-submit a notice. Their first notification, turned down by HR Rail, called for no less than eight days of strikes.

The 48-hour strike that socialist union, ACOD Spoor, has held since yesterday evening is a result of their objection to a government decision that not all rail staff be included on the list of demanding jobs in the public services sector.

Arthur Rubinstein
The Brussels Times