Monday, May 19, 2008

Railroad traffic will come to a standstill at 22:00 tonight

The liberal VLD together with the employers' organisations and the Bond van Trein-,Tram- en Busgebruikers (The league of commuters) demand the implementation of peak-hour trains during the general strike in order to assure the rendering of a minimal service.
According to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Inge Vervotte (CD&V), this is however not attainable as it means that 65 pct of the personnel will have to work. Moreover, the minister refused to call on personnel. Open VLD asked why it can be done in France but not in Belgium.

Vervotte agreed with NMBS management that it is far more important to avoid spontaneous strikes. This can be achieved through viable agreements with the unions, the NMBS spokesperson said. The Open VLD did not accept this and demanded that the minimal service rendering be placed on Friday's agenda of the super ministers' cabinet meeting, to which the unions and employers have also been invited. The unions welcomed Vervotte's approach: 'We are pleased to find that the minister understands us', said Jos Digneffe of the railway union, ACOD-rail.

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