Socialist, liberal and Christian trade unions are protesting today against the Federal government’s pension reform plans. Protest marches take place in Brussels and five other cities in Flanders. As many bus, tram and metro drivers take part in the demonstrations, the day of action causes major disruptions in the services provided by the Brussels public transport company MIVB and the Flemish public transport company De Lijn.
However, the national rail company NMBS reports no disruption to rail services. The unions are taking action in protest at the failure to find an agreement on measures that would allow those in so-called “Demanding professions” to retire earlier than the new higher pension age of 66 (from 2025) and 67 (from 2030). It is still unclear which jobs will be classed as “demanding” and who will be able to retire early.
Demonstrations and a human chain
In Brussels trade unionists gathered at 10am on the Albertinaplein in the city centre. The intend to form a human chain around parliament.
A delegation of trades unionists will hold meetings with the Federal Prime Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) and the Speaker of the Federal Parliament Siegfried Bracke (Flemish nationalist).
Elsewhere, demonstrations are taking place in Antwerp, Leuven (Flemish Brabant), Hasselt (Limburg), Ghent (East Flanders) and Kortrijk (West Flanders).
Disruption on De Lijn and MIVB services
The Flemish public transport company De Lijn reports disruption is greatest on urban routes in Ghent and Antwerp and in the Flemish Brabant municipalities around Brussels. For the latest information (in Dutch) click here.
Just one metro line is running in the capital and a large number of bus and tram routes are not being served. As during previous days of action the Brussels public transport company MIVB has deployed the drivers that have turned up for work to man its busiest routes. Click here for the latest on MIVB services