Talks under way to try and avert rail strike

Talks got under way at 9am on Tuesday morning to try and avert a rail strike by members of the Independent Union OVS for this coming weekend. The talks are a final attempt to reach an agreement that will stop the strike from taking place.    

During the coming weekend the Pukkelpop music festival is taking place at Kiewit, near to the Limburg city of Hasselt. Many thousands of festival-goers will be hoping to reach the festival by train. This could be an issues if the planned strike by members of the OVS union goes ahead. Today’s talks are intended to prevent this.   

The union’s Gunter Parmentier told VRT News "We above all want to talk about being able to take leave. We haven’t heard any more from NMBS since the last strike on 27 July, when Tomorowland was taking place. The train guards are asking to be able to take a minimal amount of leave. This is currently not being granted and leave is even being revoked. This sometimes happens at the last minute, meaning that holidays have to be cancelled. We hope that NMBS management makes some extra concessions”.      

"As things stand there are proposals on the table that offer the guarantee of a minimum amount of leave that will only become effective in a year’s time. If management doesn’t make any further concessions there will unfortunately be another strike this coming weekend”, Mr Parmentier added.