The 24-hour strike will start at 10pm tomorrow. Over the past days, NMBS employees had to inform the management about whether they will participate in the strike or not.
Taking their answers into account, the NMBS is working out an alternative schedule. "On average, about half of the trains will go compared to the normal everyday week schedule", Belgian Rail says. The morning and evening rush hour will see most of the Intercity (IC) trains running between the big cities. They will be less frequent during the day though. However, so-called P-trains (extra trains during the busy rush hour) will be scrapped.
Check and double-check
Since March last year, Belgian Rail is obliged to work out a skeleton roster. On previous occasions, this has led to less chaos, improving things a lot for passengers. The app will provide the updated information as from tonight, but Belgian Rail is advising commuters to check again just before going to the station, as there may be late changes.
Public transport in cities and municipalities (trams, buses and metro services) are bound to be heavily disrupted as well. The Flemish public transport company De Lijn says that priority will be given to busy lines and lines carrying many school children.
Air traffic at Brussels Airport will also be affected, with Brussels Airlines even scrapping all flights on Wednesday. 'Brussels South' airport in Charleroi will have no flights.
Trades unions determined
Take into account that postal services, other public services, schools, garbage collection etc. may also be affected. Private companies will also see employees taking industrial action to press for better wages.
The strike was triggered by the collapse of the social talks between trades unions and employers about how much room for improvement there is for workers' wages in the coming years. Trades unions are heavily disappointed by the right-wing government policies: too much for employers, too little for workers and employees, they argue.