Belgian rail ready to guarantee ‘minimum service’ at strikes
On Wednesday the board of directors of HR Rail, the juridical employer of all Belgian rail staff, has determined the rules for employees having to report in advance whether they are going to take part in a strike or not. With this decision Belgian rail is ready to guarantee the ‘minimum service’, says HR-Rail spokesperson Alain Dupont.
Minister takes the plunge
This ‘minimum service’ was already agreed by the majority parties in the government agreement of 2014, but it took more than three years to implement it. Management and unions couldn’t reach an agreement on the modalities even after months of negotiating. So Minister of Mobility François Bellot (MR) decided to take the plunge himself.
Report 72 hours in advance
From now on employees will have to report 72 hours in advance of a strike whether they’re going to participate or not. While on strike for several days, employees can decide to start working again if they inform the company 48 hours in advance.
Depending on the availability of staff willing to work, the railway company NMBS/SNCB and network managing company Infrabel will work out a schedule to have a minimum of trains riding. This could mean only a few trains on the major axes upon more trains even on regional lines.