fotografie peter Hilz (C)

Transport unions to stage protest at border crossings on Monday

The unions that represent workers in the transport industry are to take action on Monday in protest against the European Commission’s plans to make changes to the length of time bus and lorry drivers are allowed to drive and their statuary rest breaks. The protests will be held at a number of the busiest border crossings between Belgium and neighbouring countries.    

The socialist and Christian trades ACV and ABVV warn against the consequences of the proposals that will be put before the European Parliament later this month. If approved international lorry and bus drivers will be allowed to drive for longer and won’t have to rest for as long as is currently the case. The unions say that this will threaten the safety of the drivers and that of other road users.    

"Tiredness kills” John Reynaert of the socialist transport union BTB told journalists.   

Europe wants to make it possible for drivers to spend their long weekly rest period in their vehicle, something that is currently not allowed. A bus driver would be allowed to drive for up to 12 hours a day on domestic journeys, something that is currently only permitted on international trips.  

In order to inform other drivers of their grievances the transport unions will stage protest action at the Rekkem (West Flanders) border crossing between Kortrijk (West Flanders) and Lille (Nord, France) and the border crossings at Meer (Antwerp province), Zonhoven and Maasmechelen (both Limburg province) between 7am and 9am on Monday. Although the protest could lead to delays the unions say that they don’t intend to block the motorways.