Union solidarity missing in national strike
6 October 2005, BRUSSELS — The Socialist union ABVV will attempt to disrupt the Belgian economy on Friday, but its attempt will only partially succeed because the Christian union ACV and the Liberal ACLVB have ruled out industrial action.
6 October 2005
BRUSSELS — The Socialist union ABVV will attempt to disrupt the Belgian economy on Friday, but its attempt will only partially succeed because the Christian union ACV and the Liberal ACLVB have ruled out industrial action.
Nevertheless, the ABVV is optimistic about the planned national strike, which it called to protest against the government's reform of the early retirement and pensions system.
Strikes will take place in every sector where the ABVV has members, ranging from private companies to the public service; the commercial sectors but also non-profit organisations such as education and health.
Strikes will take place in every region across the country, across the linguistic divide and in the capital Brussels. Work stoppages will affect both small and large companies, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Thursday.
The 24-hour strike will start at 10pm on Thursday and continue until 10pm on Friday. The ABVV has not planned any large scale demonstrations.
However, the ABVV will not be able to bring the economy to standstill on its own, despite the optimism of general secretary Xavier Verboven, who said on Wednesday the current great willingness to strike had not been witnessed for some time.
Various large factories will be closed by striking ABVV workers alone and at other plants, ABVV strikers will be joined by ACV and ACLVB staff who refuse to cross the ABVV picket line.
The ABVV is also planning to blockade small companies in West Flanders and Limburg, prompting employers association Voka to urge mayors to prevent such tactics. Mobile strike posts could force the closure of various retailers, such as Carrefour stores.
The manufacturing industry, such as the metal, textile and chemicals sectors, will be hardest hit by Friday's strikes. Dock workers at Antwerp may also walk off the job.
Federal, regional and local public servants will also go out on strike. Schools will also be affected, but it is not yet certain if all schools will be affected.
Socialist public service union ACOD said on Wednesday childcare will be available. There is no strike in Catholic education or Catholic non-profit groups.
Few or no buses from De Lijn, TEC and MIVB will be operating and train traffic will completely grind to a halt because the ACV has allowed its staff to participate in the ABVV strike. A planned train strike on 11 October will not proceed.
The ACOD will stage a strike affecting Belgacom on Friday, while ACV will strike on 11 October in protest against announced job cuts.
Few postal deliveries will be made on Friday due to union solidarity, while problems can also be expected at Zaventem Airport in Brussels, such as baggage processing delays.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news