Rail talks break down without agreement

Talks between the management of the Belgian rail company NMBS and the Independent Rail Union OVS have broken down without agreement. The talks were a last ditch effort to avert a rail strike planned for this coming Saturday. The strike will mean that a minimum service timetable will be in force on Saturday. 

The rail company NMBS has said in a statement that it will strive to keep disruption to services to and from the Pukkelpop music festival to a minimum.   

"From Friday our route planner will enable you to see which trains will be running and which trains will be cancelled on Saturday”, the NMBS Spokesman Dimitri Temmerman told journalists.

The minimum timetable will "pay special attention to services to and from Hasselt” where Pukkelpop will be taking place.   

Meanwhile, Pukkelpop’s Spokesman Frederik Luyten has said that he has every confidence in the service that NMBS will provide.   

The rail union has called the strike as it want guarantees that train guards will be able to take a minimum number of days annual leave. Tuesday talks with NMBS management failed to resolve the dispute and it was decided that the strike should go ahead.  

NMBS recognises that the summer period isn’t easy for its train guards and intends to lighten their load by recruiting extra staff.

"We are busy recruiting. This year 300 new guards will be taken on. More than 200 guards have already been recruited. In the coming months we will fill the remaining vacancies”.   

A previous strike by train guards took place on 27 July during the Tomorrowland dance music festival.