Monday, 21.05.2012 the bus drivers decided to go into a spontaneous strike. The bus network in the Kortrijk became severely disrupted Monday morning after a spontaneous strike broke out.
They protest against the savings plans of the public transport. At eleven o’clock from then on there were hardly any buses out. Especially the “removal of Saturday and Sunday services put bad blood on the staff, because if they lose premiums” says one of the employees. The action caused nuisance, because on Monday the weekly market takes place. At three o’clock the drivers again resume work. The employers speak of the halving of the offer, and fear that they will earn less from the elimination of weekend services. Redundancies and cutting salaries of employees not only led to dissatisfaction in Kortrijk but also in Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent in 2012.
Yet the strike was not available for private companies that payfor De Lijn for their workers transport. While students were waiting for buses, private ones stood in each station.
Belgium is holding its first general strike in more than six years in protest over austerity measures, as EU leaders meet for a summit in Brussels. By driving down pay and conditions in the public sector, we can see that government also force down the quality of services it provides. However, many in Belgium appear to have accepted the need for austerity measures, with one opinion poll suggesting only 21% are in support the strike, according to the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws last week.