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Socialist Trade Union stages 24-hour strike at the VRT

Members of the socialist public sector union ACOD that work here at the VRT are staging a 24-hour strike. ACOD hopes that the action will send out a signal to the Flemish Government that it claims “has abandoned public service broadcasting” in Flanders. The two other trade unions that represent employees at the VRT, VSOA and ACV Transcom, have not called on their members to take strike action today. 

The strike is having an impact on some programming with the weekday evening current affairs programme ‘Terzake’ and the weekly review of the world of politics ‘De afspraak op vrijdag’ among the programmes cancelled. The main evening news programme at 7pm will also be 10 minutes shorter than usual and the VRT’s radio stations are operating a revised programme schedule for the duration of the strike.

In late April management at the Flemish public broadcaster announced that 116 of its employees would be made redundant, the bulk of which at the end of this year. A further 50 employees that are to leave the VRT over the coming years through so-called “natural wastage” won’t be replaced. It was also announced that the popular weekday soap opera ‘Thuis’ would no longer be made in house but would instead be made for the Flemish public broadcaster by an external production company. The contracts of the 70 or so people that work on ‘Thuis’ will be transferred to the external production company before the end of the year.

Since the announcement there has already been a 1-day strike (backed by all three unions) at the VRT in May. More recently the topical discussion programme ‘De zevende dag’ was blacked out at the end of last month and on Wednesday industrial action led to the cancellation of the live broadcast of question time from the Flemish Parliament.

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