Expatica news

More transport strikes possible in Brussels

29 November 2004

BRUSSELS – Yet more strikes could bring traffic grinding to a halt in Brussels it has emerged.

Monday saw travel chaos grip the capital as workers at public transports operator STIB came out on strike yet again in a row over pay and conditions.

The stoppage was organised by the socialist trade union CGSP, which has already said it cannot for the time being rule out future action.

The CGSP members called Monday’s strike after emerging unsatisfied from talks with STIB management last Wednesday.

The union will hold a general assembly on 7 December to decide whether or not to call for new strikes and until then it remains unclear how the transport network in Brussels could be affected.

On Monday morning, only 56 percent of metros, 41 percent of trams and 43 percent of busses were running.

Around 38 percent of special transport, including school busses, was circulating, said STIB spokesman An Van Hamme.

The CGSP said it was happy with the strike. “Around 50 to 60 percent of personnel are on strike, which includes those who work on busses and the metro,” said union leader Alex Vonck.

“This shows that the willingness to strike and the discontent among workers is sufficiently large, and it’s the same among militants in other unions,” he said.

Road traffic was severely affected on Monday morning as a result of the strike, with a drastic slowing of movement on major roads like Rue de la Loi and Rue Belliard.

The federal police indicated traffic problems on the outer and inner rings but said traffic in the town centre was flowing normally.

The Socialist union indicated two weeks ago that it would continue to strike if its terms were not met on working conditions.

The two other unions, the SLFP (Liberal) and CSC-Transcom (Christian) are not participating in the strike action.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news