With local actions tomorrow in Kortrijk, Leuven and Hasselt, the three trade unions want to give the government a shot ahead in the purchasing power discussion. At De Lijn, among others, only 60 percent of all journeys will be made. No strike notice has been submitted at NMBS and so they do not expect any disruption on Friday, and everything at STIB will also run according to schedule.
The concrete reason for tomorrow’s local actions is the fact that no agreement has been reached within the Group of 10 on higher compensation in the travel costs for employees. The unions demand that an extra intervention be granted quickly, and to reinforce these and other demands, action will be taken tomorrow. This therefore concerns the wage standard law of 1996. This law puts a brake on wage increases in order to protect the competitive position of Belgian companies vis-à-vis neighboring countries, but the unions want to see the current law reformed.
According to the joint trade union front, employers are once again wanting to get the most out of their efforts, while leaving their employees out in the cold. For example, they refuse any extra effort, but they do want the government to provide extra resources to reduce the energy costs of the companies, according to the unions.
The workers are also confronted with the sharp rise in petrol and diesel prices, the unions said. Therefore, an extra intervention is needed that is immediately tangible and in proportion to rising fuel prices, for all employees who have to use their own car for their commute.
The unions also want employers to take responsibility, especially when it comes to professional travel. Finally, it is absolutely impossible for them “that the reimbursement of the commuter traffic is somehow linked to the wage level of the employee, as proposed by the employers”, it reads.
In Hasselt, the unions plan a “Mega Open Air Pay Quiz”, speeches and testimonies in the morning, in Leuven they gather at 10 am at Martelarenplein and in Kortrijk at 11 am at Mandelaplein. Action is also being taken in various places in Wallonia. This is the case in Liège, La Louvière and Charleroi, among others.
A national trade union manifestation is also planned in Brussels on 20 June. In between, on May 31, the public services will hold another day of action against the “general malaise” in the sector.
At least half of the De Lijn buses and trams will run in each province, but this can vary per province. It is also the case that the nuisance in rural areas will be less than in urban areas. De Lijn expects 65 percent of all journeys to be made in East Flanders, 60 percent in West Flanders and Flemish Brabant and 55 percent in Antwerp and Limburg. Approximately 55 percent of the scheduled journeys of the Coastal Tram will be run.
An alternative service has been developed based on the available staff, which can be consulted on the company’s website and app. Trips that are not running are not displayed in the route planner.
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