Various rail strikes trigger massive compensation claim

Various rail strikes trigger massive compensation claim

28th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

The Belgian consumers' organisation Test-Aankoop wants to claim compensation from the Belgian Rail Company NMBS for losses incurred by the frequent strike action.

Test-Aankoop is urging rail passengers to join the action. They were distributing flyers at a number of stations on 27 May morning. The action is being initiated as another strike is scheduled for 28 May. Test-Aankoop is threatening to take the NMBS to court to claim compensation for commuters and regular passengers that were hit by the many strikes in the past months.

We had seven rail strikes in eight months' time. Season ticket holders lost a total of 25 million euros,' The NMBS is not meeting its obligations, while ticket holders are paying for a service which has been scrapped. Moreover, the system to allow people to claim compensation after a strike, is too complex, Test Aankoop adds.

"We put the problem of the complicated procedures on the table before. It is very discouraging and inaccessible for people. However, nothing happened and this is why we are taking it one step further now, trying a collective claim", explains Els Bruggeman of Test-Aankoop.

EUR 5 per person per strike

How did test-Aankoop reach an amount of (almost) EUR 25 million? "Actually we did not exaggerate. We took the cheapest return ticket for season ticket holders. This is EUR 5, multiplied by seven days of strike action. This makes EUR 35 per person. When you extend this to the total number of commuters hit by the strikes, you get 24.5 million," said  Ivo Mechels of Test-Aankoop. "We will demand this amount from the NMBS."

Test-Aankoop hopes to set up the first public damage claim ever in Belgium, and wants to have as many passengers taking part as possible. Not all passengers are keen to join the claim, though. Test-Aankoop allows the NMBS one month to come up with a proposal to solve the matter in an amicable way. If not, court action will be initiated. / Expatica

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