28 October 2004
BRUSSELS – Two-thirds of Brussels’ buses ground to a halt on Thursday morning when STIB drivers went on a lightning strike.
Another strike is set to hit the entire STIB network on Friday.
Drivers at STIB depots in Haren, Delta and La Louviere refused to work in protest at passenger violence during the last few months.
The workers at Haren were the first to walk out at dawn, leading to the cancellation of buses on 15 routes — lines 21, 27, 29, 42, 45, 53, 54, 57, 58, 59, 65, 66, 69 and 81.
Drivers at the Delta depot then followed the spontaneous strike, which came just a day after drivers in Molenbeek refused to work.
The Molenbeek depot was back to business as usual on Thursday and the city’s trams and metros continued to run.
STIB opened its information line at 6.30am to inform passengers about delays and cancellations (02 515 2000).
A strike has also been called across the entire STIB network for Friday.
Passengers in the town of La Louviere are also experiencing a difficult two days, with TEC bus drivers striking on Thursday and Friday. The drivers voted 58-19 in favour of a two-day standstill.
TEC drivers also refused to work last Thursday, calling on their management to act to ensure drivers’ safety. On Tuesday, managers promised them more bus conductors in the town. The company is asking the Walloon government for funding to pay for five extra conductors when it renegotiates its management contract.
Union leaders may be willing to accept this guarantee. However, some of the grassroots members fear the extra conductors will be spread over Mons, Tournai and La Louviere, rather than patrolling buses solely in La Louviere as staff want.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news