International trains to run despite unrest
19 October 2005, BRUSSELS — Despite the national demonstration and 24-hour strike in Belgium next week, domestic and international rail transport should operate as per normal.
19 October 2005
BRUSSELS — Despite the national demonstration and 24-hour strike in Belgium next week, domestic and international rail transport should operate as per normal.
A representative for the union ACV Transcom, Michel Bovy, said unions had agreed to let trains operate despite the planned widespread industrial unrest, Belgian news agency Belga reported on Wednesday.
He said the decision was a boost for inter-professional solidarity and would allow as many protestors as possible to travel to Brussels to participate in the demonstration.
The Christian ACV and Socialist ABVV trade union federations agreed on Tuesday to stage a national demonstration against government reforms aimed at restricting early retirement.
The demonstration will be held in Brussels on 28 October and will be supported by various strikes in a show of union solidarity after ACV refused to support the ABVV-led national strike on 7 October.
Unions rejected on Tuesday the Belgian government's 'generation pact', which will raise the minimum early retirement age from 58 to 60 and boost youth employment while seeking to also retain older workers.
However, the decision to keep rail transport operating means domestic rail commuters in Belgium will be spared the hassle of finding alternative transport.
It also means that international rail transport from the Netherlands, Germany or France via Belgium should operate as per normal next week.
The decision by Belgian rail workers not to strike is also due to the fact its complaints about sector-specific issues were drowned out during the 7 October strike.
Union representative Bovy also said rail workers should not use up all of their ammunition at once, hinting at possible strikes in the weeks to follow.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian, Dutch, German and French news