Rail unions threaten strike action on 22, 23 and 28 June

Two of the unions that represent workers at Belgium’s state-owned rail company NMBS are threatening strike action. The Independent Union of Rail Personnel (OVS) has issued a strike notice for a 24-hour strike starting on 27 June at 10pm. Meanwhile, the Autonomous Train Drivers’ Union (ASTB) has issued a strike notice for a 48-hour strike from 3am on the morning of Friday 22 June.   

OVS says it has chosen the date for its strike to avoid impacting students during their exam period. The union says that other strikes could follow.  

"At the National Joint Sub-Committee on 6 June a proposal tfor the reassessment of the job carried out by driving staff was pushed through. These proposals were rejected by a majority of the staff that would be affected”, OVS wrote in a statement.

The union is demanding that the proposals be revoked and negotiation be reopened “that will lead to a proposal being drawn up that is supported by driving staff”.  

ASTB to strike for 48 hours

The train drivers’ union ASTB has also issued a strike notice. ASTB’s Bert Weetjes told VRT News that "We have issued a strike notice for a period that starts on Friday 22 June at 3am. It runs until 3am on the morning of Sunday 24 June."

The fact that both unions are striking on different days is due to the minimum length of time required between a strike notice being officially issued and a strike actually going ahead. “This is 8 days”, Mr Weetjes explains. “We posted our strike notices on Friday. They (OVS) apparently only did so today”.