Bus drivers' unions issue strike notice

Unions that represent bus drivers that work for the Flemish public transport company De Lijn have issued a strike notice. They have done so to express their discontent at the situation at and around the bus stops at Brussels North railway station. Dozens of De Lijn’s services from towns and villages in Flemish Brabant and beyond terminate at Brussels North. 

There have been issues with hygiene and security at and around the bus stops for some time. The unions say that this is at least in part caused by the transit migrants that are sleeping rough on the ground floor of the building that houses that railway station.  

The unions say that transit migrants, undocumented migrants that are en route to the UK, have made Brussels North unhygienic and unsafe for their members and the travelling public.   

In order to get these issues addressed, the unions have issued a strike notice. They hope that this will exert pressure on the authorities as they say that previous attempts to address the situation have failed to improve maters.  

"We are considering a series of short strikes to put pressure on management at De Lijn. We know that De Lijn has its back against the wall and that it can’t offer a solution straight away. But De Lijn should exert pressure on the Brussels-Capital Region that owns the CCN building”, Eddy Bronselaer of the Christian trade union ACV told VRT News.   

Management at De Lijn says that it is treating the drivers’ concerns seriously and that it will resume talks with the unions next Tuesday.  

Flemish Transport Minister “We aren’t going to await permission from Brussels Region”

In a response on Friday morning the Flemish Transport Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist) has said that he intends to act straight away and move the bus stops to the square in front of the station. “This is near to the current location, but there is a difference.

The current location is underground, in the dark, the new location is in an open space where there is plenty of room to install temporary stops. We are just going to do it, we aren’t going to wait for permission from the Brussels-Capital Region”, Mr Weyts said.