Steven Steyaert of the socialist trades union ABVV told VRT News that many sub-contractors realise that although they are paid the same as their colleagues that are employed by De Lijn, “it is always them that are left to do the dirty work”.
Virtually no busses are running in the whole of the province. This is the first time that drivers working for sub-contractors have joined industrial action in such numbers.
There have been talks between the unions and management to address the drivers’ concerns.
"However, staff that work for the contractors were not involved in the talks. We have received a lot of angry reactions. The issues that have been raised, such as the high level of flexibility De Lijn demands affect these drivers even more”, Mr Steyaert added. .
Geert Witterzeel of the Christian trades union ACV told VRT radio on Friday that new timetables are at the root of the discontent.
200 drivers that work directly for De Lijn are striking, as are 180 more that work for subcontractors in Limburg Province.