Why is there a strike?
There is a lot of dissatisfaction among railway employees about the internal reorganization and “productivity measures” that management wants to implement. Plans to halve the start-up time of train conductors to 10 minutes, among other things, have met with a lot of resistance. According to Koen De Mey, Flemish chairman of ACV Transcom, that file was “the final straw”. That category of personnel “had to swallow an enormous amount” and “stands between travelers and management”, it sounds.
More generally, the unions are calling for a “stop to productivity increases to the detriment of railway workers”. “Twice a 48-hour strike is very unusual, but the dissatisfaction in the workplace has never been so great,” says Günther Blauwens, Flemish chairman of ACOD Spoor, in a press release. “The prevailing staff shortages increase the workload. Every day, staff are confronted with failing work tools and an unworkable railway structure. Rail stability is needed more than ever.”
NMBS, Infrabel and HR Rail have already stated several times that they condemn the strike action and find it “out of proportion and irresponsible”. CEO of the NMBS Sophie Dutordoir said in “Terzake” that she will meet with the three presidents of the trade unions in the coming days to avoid the second 48-hour strike in December.