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Transport and postal strike looms

Published on 08/10/2004

8 October 2004

BRUSSELS – Workers at Belgium’s post office and public transport companies are threatening to strike later this month.

On Thursday, unions representing workers at Brussels public transport coperator STIB said they would hold a 24-hour strike on 21 October, starting at 10pm.

The group stated there was an “enormous lack of communication in the whole company” and complained of ‘inhuman’ policies, such as the regrading of workers’ jobs, sackings and a “subjective interpretation of agreements”.

Post office unions have also called a strike, this time for 15 October.

Thed unions are reportedly angered that post office managers are against implementing a 36-hour working week.

Workers are also unhappy about a new postal distribution system being introduced at larger post offices.

And workers at state rail operator SNCB hinted there would be train strikes if the employers and the public authorities did not meet their demands.

The unions say on April 1 they reached a deal with SNCB’s management to help it cut the workforce, from 42,000 to 38,000 workers by 2005.

But they accuse management of renaging on its commitments.

The unions also want to see the authorities invest more money in SNCB.

“If the authorities and the SNCB management don’t stick to their commitments, and all of their commitments, we promise a very difficult autumn,” warned Jose Damilot, leader of the socialist union CGSP-Cheminots.

The companies responded by calling for calm, with the post office management stating it was confident that a solution could be found during talks with the unions on October 13.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news