Thursday sees the start of four days of strike action by drivers at the Flemish public transport authority De Lijn, which also runs in Brussels. Liberal and socialist unions are protesting against restructuring plans. The entire network will be affected, a spokesperson for the company said. The available drivers will be assigned principally to the major routes. De Lijn services were affected this week by the pensions demonstration in Brussels on Wednesday.
Unions are protesting at the loss under the plan of a number of administrative jobs. “A lot of admin jobs will be centralised under the reorganisation,” said Eric Quisthoudt of the liberal union ACLVB. The jobs, he explained, are currently organised at depot level. “That is important for drivers, because those executives are present for drivers on questions such as diversions, changes to services and requests for leave.”
De Lijn spokesperson Tom Van de Vreken said precise numbers were impossible to predict for the time being, but forecast that the strike would have an effect over the whole network. Antwerp and Mechelen would suffer more disruption than the Wednesday pensions demo, while Limburg and Flemish-Brabant would see less.
Already this morning, Antwerp saw one in three trams and one in four buses in service. In Limburg three in four drivers showed up for work, and in Flemish Brabant, the province surrounding Brussels, 70 to 80%.