Strike action by bus drivers in Limburg and Flemish Brabant
Once again bus drivers that work for the Flemish public transport company De Lijn are taking industrial action today. As was the case on Thursday the drivers are protesting against aggressive behaviour and violence against public transport staff. Earlier this week a bus driver was beaten up after he told a passenger that he was not allowed to vape while aboard a bus. This incident happened in the town of Genk in Limburg Province and as was the case on Thursday the majority of bus services in Limburg are not running today. De Lijn says that between 60% and 70% of its drivers in Limburg Province are striking today.
In Flemish Brabant too some of De Lijn’s drivers are striking. Around 40% of services in the province are not running. As always during a strike it is best to check the public transport company’s website www.delijn.be or its app to see whether the service you wish to use is still running.
De Lijn’s drivers say that they are increasingly facing aggression and even physical violence from passengers. In Limburg Province the final straw came earlier week when a driver was beaten up by a passenger in Genk. In Flemish Brabant drivers are unhappy that management has failed to honour promises made after incidents of violence against drivers there.
Eddy Bronselaer of the Christian trade union ACV told VRT News that "Measures promised previously to address the issue of violence against drivers have still to be implemented. De Lijn had promised that they would introduce enclosed areas for drivers, but this still hasn’t happed. There is one bus that has an enclosed area for the driver as a pilot project. This isn’t enough. In addition to this we had asked for well-trained security staff and support for victims of aggression”
De Lijn’s spokesman for Flemish Brabant told VRT News that 40% of bus services in the province are not running. In Leuven 33% of services are cancelled.
In Limburg Province more that 60% of services are not running. On Thursday De Lijn’s management and the unions held talks on ways to increase safety for public transport staff.
However, on Friday morning many bus drivers in Limburg were not prepared to resume work today. Both management and the unions say that they understand the drivers’ position. Drivers at more or less all depots in Limburg are taking industrial action again today.