The year 2016 may well have recorded the highest number of strikes in recent Belgian history, according to figures from the National Social Security Office, ONSS, published on Friday by De Tijd newspaper. From April to June alone, about 247,300 days of strikes were recorded. The year 2014, which marked the start of the government of Prime Minister Charles Michel, had a total of 763,300 strike days, the highest in 25 years. After a relative calm in 2015, trade union action against the government went into high gear this year.
In the second quarter of the year, penitentiary guards and railway employees took strike action. Then, on May 24, at least 60,000 persons took to the streets in a nationwide demonstration. They were soon followed by some 10,000 public servants and teachers protesting against cost-cutting measures, while a national strike was held on June 24.