Strike on Wednesday to affect most public services
A nationwide strike tomorrow will see supermarkets shut, flights cancelled and a disruption to train services
All Brussels Airlines flights cancelled
Government offices, town halls and public hospitals will all be operating with just a skeleton staff on Wednesday. Road blocks and picket lines are likely at some industrial estates and suburban shopping centres.
Carrefour, Delhaize, Aldi and Lidl stores will be closed. Bpost mail distribution will be disrupted, but the extent is not yet clear.
While the unions call on the private sector to down tools, the public sector is also largely taking part in the strike. This means that the strike will have a significant impact on public transport, flights, schools and other public services.
Railway operator NMBS expects to cancel about half of all trains for 24 hours, beginning at 22.00 tonight (Tuesday). A guaranteed minimum level of service is required by law, and NMBS says it has tried to limit the cancellations to off-peak services. Eurostar and Thalys, meanwhile, expect few interruptions.
Belgian air traffic controller Skeyes has limited air traffic capacity to 50% during the strike for safety reasons. At Brussels Airport, 317 of the 569 scheduled flights have been cancelled, including every flight operated by Brussels Airlines.
Public transport in Brussels will be severely disrupted, and passengers have been advised to make alternative travel arrangements or work from home. Regular updates will be posted on its website and social media. Its telephone contact centre (070.23.20.00) opens at 6.00.
Flemish bus and tram drivers who show up for work on Wednesday will be assigned to a handful of “priority routes”. The full extent of the disruption is not yet clear. Updates will be posted online.
No official call for teachers to strike has been made, but walkouts are still likely at the local level. Municipal creches could also be affected.
Photo: Pino Misuraca/BELGA