Administrations, public transport, the postal service, schools, garbage collection, as well as businesses and shopping centers are likely to be severely disrupted on Wednesday 13th of February. Strikes and trade union actions are planned in all sectors and throughout the country at the call of the trade union common front.
The SNCB, the Tec, the Stib and De Lijn will take part in the action. The strike, decided by the trade union common front CSC-FGTB-CGSLB, will hit the rail from February 12 at 22:00 until February 13th, same time. SNCB will however set up a minimum service as the law now provides.
A strike notice has been filed by the company in charge of air traffic control Skeyes (ex-Belgocontrol). In Charleroi, the airport will be completely stopped while the one at Zaventem expects strong disturbances. The airline company Brussels Airlines has cancelled all of its flights (222) scheduled for the day of the strike, thereby changing the plans of more than 16,000 travelers. The other airlines such as Lufthansa Group companies (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings) have not yet made any decisions on their February 13 flights to and from Belgium. TUI fly flights will be diverted to Lille, Orly, Maastricht, Eindhoven or Amsterdam airports. For their part, the baggage handlers of the various airports will not work.
The call to strike was sent to workers and truck drivers. Local and regional governments -including the firefighters, local and federal police, hospitals- will also take part in the movement. Mail distribution will also be disrupted, as will the collection of waste.
Picket lines will be set up in front of many companies, shops and shopping centers, paralyzing the country a little more.
Why the strike is taking place
The reason for the strike: the sensitive issue of wages. The mobilization follows the failure of negotiations on an interprofessional agreement (AIP) for the period 2019-2020. The Central Economic Council has set the margin of salary increase at 0.8% in addition to indexation. In the eyes of the unions, this margin is insufficient.
“After three of the four negotiating meetings planned (within the Group of 10, Ed), it became clear that no agreement would be possible with the representatives of the companies and shareholders. It is therefore high time to show who is turning this country and its economy. It is time that everyone realizes what happens when workers decide that too much is too much and that this situation can not last,” reported in a statement Marc Leemans and Marie-Hélène Ska, respectively president and Secretary General of the CSC.
The last general strike in Belgium was in December 2014. The unions were then upset by the measures planned by the Michel government.