De Lijn services disrupted as four-day strike kicks off

Passengers wanting to take a bus or tram operated by the Flemish public transport company De Lijn need to take into account that services can be heavily disrupted from Thursday to Sunday, as the liberal and socialist trades union are taking industrial action. "Services will be disrupted across Flanders and Brussels", De Lijn spokesman Tom Van de Vreken says.

Hundreds of administrative functions are due to be scrapped in a major restructuring operation. This also implies that many white-collar jobs in local hubs, will be transferred to a central level. "However, these local employees are a pillar of strength for drivers, because they take care of their daily concerns such as holiday wishes, rest days, road diversions etc." explains Eric Quisthoudt of the liberal trades union. 

While it is difficult to say how big the impact will be and which cities or areas will be hardest hit, the effect of the strike will be felt across Flanders and parts of Brussels. The city of Antwerp only saw 1 in 3 trams and 1 in 4 buses running, while this figure reached two thirds in Limburg, and between 70 and 80 percent in Flemish Brabant. Coast tram services were badly affected this morning. 

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