Discontent with the Federal Government’s pension reform measures and the failure to reach agreement on a list of so-called “demanding professions” coupled with concerns about purchasing power are behind today’s day of action by trades’ unionists across Belgium. Although the day of action has not affected rail service of bus, tram and metro services provided by the Brussels public transport company MIVB, many of the Flemish public transport company De Lijn’s services have been impacted.
In addition to this, more than 260 companies in the metal and textile industries have downed tools to join today’s day of action. A number of industrial estate are being blockaded in Walloon Brabant and Hainaut Province. Workers from the food production and processing industries have also joined the action in numbers. Production at Coca-Cola’s factory in Wilrijk (Antwerp) has been halted due to the action. In many other companies workers are displaying their discontent in other ways, for example with petition or demonstrations.
Striker hit by lorry
Tragedy struck earlier on Friday morning when a striker was knocked down by a lorry on the Skaldenbrug in the port area of Gent (East Flanders). The Maritime police say that initial indication point to the incident being a tragic accident.
A number of “filter” road blocks have been set up at or near to motorway or trunk road slip roads. This is the case on the E313 at Lummen in Limburg Province where the socialist trades union says that around 200 of its members are involved.
No problems at the airport or on the railways
A spokesperson for Brussels Airport has told journalists that are no problems at the check-in desks. This is despite baggage handlers having been call on to join the action. Rail services and services operated by the Brussels public transport company MIVB are running as normal. However, this is not the case with regard to services operated by the Flemish public transport company De Lijn and the Walloon Public Transport company TEC. In Wallonia bus services are being affected in and around Liège and Charleroi (Hainaut).
De Lijn’s services are being impacted across Flanders. The biggest impact is being felt in Antwerp and Ghent as well as in and around Turnhout (Antwerp province), Leuven (Flemish Brabant), Mechelen (Antwerp province), the whole of Limburg province, the west of Flemish Brabant and Overijse/Hoeilaart.