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Brussels transport strike on Friday

Published on 21/10/2004

21 October 2004

BRUSSELS – The staff of the Brussels public transport company, STIB, will hold a 24-hour strike on Friday, promising travel chaos across the capital.

The strike begins at 10pm on Thursday, ending at the same time the next day.

Trade unions said the strike had been caled to protest about a lack of communication within the company and to highlight inhumane conditions for workers.

Issues the unions are angry about include training, sackings and the subjective interpretation of agreements.

They are also unhappy about the linked problems of heavy traffic and demanding timetables.

Taken together, these two issues mean drivers often miss out on breaks when they get stuck in heavy traffic, say the unions.

STIB management presented its proposals to the unions on Tuesday but these were rejected by the unions, who are now talking about a ” crisis of confidence.”

A union meeting has been called next Tuesday to decide on further action.

“This seems to me like a strike against traffic jams,” said Alain Flausch, STIB director general.

“We understand the difficulties faced by drivers and we can do our part to improve this situation. However, we regret that they have chosen to strike and take passengers hostage this way.”

He said the company was short of around about 65 drivers, which contributed to the problem.

STIB management says Brussels metro lines will operate a reduced serivce on Friday, which will be free.

Trains will run at ten minute intervals, said STIB.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news