Why is there a strike?
There is great dissatisfaction among railway employees over the internal reorganization and “productivity measures” that the management wants to implement. Plans to halve the start time for train drivers to 10 minutes, among other things, have met with a lot of resistance. According to Koen de Mai, the Flemish president of ACV Transcom, this file was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” It seems that this category of employees “had to swallow a huge amount” and “stand between travelers and management.”
More generally, the unions are calling for “a halt to productivity increases at the expense of railway workers.” “Twice strikes for 48 hours are very unusual, but dissatisfaction in the workplace has never been this great,” says Günter Plauens, Flemish president of ACOD Spoor, in a press release. “The prevailing staff shortage is increasing the workload. Every day, employees are faced with failing work tools and inoperable railway structure. Railway stability is needed more than ever.”
NMBS, Infrabel and HR Rail have stated several times that they condemn the strike and see it as “disproportionate and irresponsible”. NMBS CEO Sophie Dutourdoir said in “Terzake” that she would meet with the three heads of the trade unions in the coming days to avoid a second 48-hour strike in December.
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