Unions representing employees of Belgium’s postal company, Bpost, have maintained their decision to go on strike throughout the week following an inconclusive meeting on Monday with management. The two sides met on Monday morning and while he described the encounter as “calm”, Jacques Lespagnard, Secretary General of the CGSP-Poste, one of the unions, said afterwards that the strikes would be pursued.
“We exchanged a great deal of thoughts and ideas on the company’s problems, but we’ll have to get back to the negotiating table and come up with direct solutions to these problems,” Lespagnard said, adding that management had not really tried to have the strikes lifted at Monday’s meeting.
The postal workers, organised in a common front comprising the CGSP and two other labour organisations, CSC and SLPF, plan to stage 24-hour strikes from 7 to 13 November. Workers at sorting centres are scheduled to down tools on 7 November, followed by Bpost drivers on 8 November, then postmen and postwomen on 9 November. Counter staff are to follow on 12 November, and package handlers on 13 November.
The unions charge that the reality on the ground is “catastrophic” and that there is a “great malaise” at Bpost. Flanders has a dire staff shortage while the Géoroute work-organisation system, introduced in early 2000, needs to be revisited, the CGSP leader said.