New Year starts with a rail strike

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The Independent Rail Union holds a 24-hour strike

2 January 2008 - The Independent Rail Union (OVS) has held a 24-hour strike. The strike ended at 2:00 pm New Year's Day. Half the trains on the major lines in Flanders have been cancelled.

The OVS held a 24-hour strike on Christmas Eve as well. The result was a chaotic evening rush hour.  The Sunday schedule is in effect until Wednesday.

The OVS is a small trade union that is not recognised officially. Still, it represents the majority of the train drivers and train conductors.

The train drivers were striking because they say that they were given their end of the year work schedule too late.

They are also demanding better wages and more jobs.

Belgian Rail (NMBS) had decided to implement a Sunday schedule for Christmas and New Year's Eve.

According to Frédéric Petit of Infrabel, the infrastructure manager of the Belgian railway network, the reason for implementing a Sunday schedule was for the very purpose of accommodating the personnel.

The rail strike caused most delays on the Brussels-Leuven line. 

In Wallonia, there was little disturbance by the rail strike.

The train schedule us expected to be back to normal by Tuesday evening.  The Sunday schedule applies until January 2.

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