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Almost business as usual on Wallonia buses

Published on 03/06/2005

3 June 2005

BRUSSELS – Most buses in Wallonia were running normally on Friday after drivers signed a deal to call off their strikes.

The agreement – signed by two of the three driver unions which together represent 65 percent of workers – puts an end to weeks of disruption in the region.

Only the Christian union CCSP has not signed the offer by the Wallonia Regional Transport Society (SRWT), which manages the company TEC. It walked out of negotiations on Thursday afternoon.

The united union front, the CGSP-CGSLB, said they had won their members the best possible deal that could be expected.

Drivers will see a salary rise of EUR 0.17 per hour, with pay backdated from 1 January. They will also be given a EUR 35 gift voucher in January 2006 and a bonus linked to increased ticket sales.

If revenue is higher than the average collective salary over the last three years, 30 percent will be divided up among workers.

Drivers’ children are also to be given free TEC bus travel up until the age of 25.

SRWT general administrator Jean-Marc Vandenbroucke said it was a shame the deal hadn’t been signed six weeks ago and by all three unions.

However, CGSP spokesman Yves Depas insisted: “This fight was necessary, even if at one moment, it perhaps lasted too long in some regions.”

The CCSP was due on Friday to meet to discuss the deal. In the meantime, it said striking would continue, but it wouldn’t stop drivers who wanted to go back to work.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news