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Belgium facing more strike chaos

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By Catherine Hardy
Belgium facing more strike chaos

<ul> <li>General strike on Tuesday</li> <li>Brussels gridlocked on Monday</li> <li>Train services in Flanders unaffected <p> <h3><strong>What is happening?</strong></h3> </p></li> </ul> <p>Belgium is heading for more strike chaos.</p> <p>As rail workers and prison guards vote to extend strike action, a union representing public service workers has called its members out on Tuesday for 24 hours. <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Belgium?src=hash">#Belgium</a> faces worsening <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/strike?src=hash">#strike</a> action <a href="https://t.co/SUidSl608G">https://t.co/SUidSl608G</a> via <a href="https://twitter.com/Yahoo"><code>Yahoo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AFP"></code>afp</a></p>— Lachlan Carmichael (@Lachlan1959) <a href="https://twitter.com/Lachlan1959/status/737360888576024576">May 30, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p></p> <p>This is a general strike and will affect:</p> <ul> <li>Public transport</li> <li>Schools</li> <li>Airports</li> <li>Local authorities</li> <li>the port of Antwerp <p> <h3><strong>What have the prison guards decided?</strong></h3> </p></li> </ul> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="it" dir="ltr"><span class="caps">VIDEO</span>: Belgium prison strike 'disastrous' <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/news?src=hash">#news</a> <a href="https://t.co/h0WlCIPPit">https://t.co/h0WlCIPPit</a></p>— News World Today (@newsworldtoday) <a href="https://twitter.com/newsworldtoday/status/733777704164659200">May 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <p>95% of prison guards working in Brussels and Wallonia have rejected a settlement proposed last week by Belgian Justice Minister, Koen Geens.</p> <p>They are demanding better pay and working conditions and have been on strike for five weeks.</p> </p> <h3><strong>Rail workers</strong></h3> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en="align"center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Train network in Wallonia at a standstill as rail unions strike<a href="https://t.co/kQUlNvz1hV">https://t.co/kQUlNvz1hV</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Belgium?src=hash">#Belgium</a> <a href="https://t.co/SO1LVhpY7m">pic.twitter.com/SO1LVhpY7m</a></p>— The Bulletin (@_TheBulletin) <a href="https://twitter.com/_TheBulletin/status/735835173674061824">May 26, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> There is more bad news for road and rail users. <p>There is no end in sight in the dispute between the unions of the French-speaking rail personnel and Belgian train companies <span class="caps">SNCB</span> and Infrabel, also in Brussels and Wallonia.</p> <p>Further disruption is expected on Tuesday. <p> <h3><strong>When did the rail strike start?</strong></h3> </p></p> <p>Last Wednesday. It was a lightning strike that has been extended.</p> <p>Emergency meetings held on Thursday and Friday failed to come up with a solution and a new meeting was scheduled for Monday. <p> <h3><strong>What is it about?</strong></h3> </p></p> <p>Rail workers have walked out in protest at management plans to reduce the number of days they get back in time owed when they work extra hours.</p> <p>Managers say they are prepared to negotiate but expect the unions to do the same. <p> <h3><strong>Which unions are involved?</strong></h3> </p></p> <ul> <li><span class="caps">CGSP</span>/Acod</li> <li><span class="caps">CSC</span>/ACV (chretien) <p> <h3><strong>Is it having an effect on transport?</strong></h3> </p></li> </ul> <p>Yes.</p> <p>Traffic congestion on Monday was said to be worst in a year, with hundreds of kilometres of tailbacks across the country. <p> <h3><strong>Which areas are worst affected?</strong></h3> </p></p> <p>There are almost no trains running in the French-speaking south of Belgium.</p> <ul> <li>Wallonia</li> <li>Train services going through Francophone provinces eg the east-west line linking the coast to Ghent, Brussels, Liege and Eupen <p> <h3><strong>What about Flanders?</strong></h3> </p></li> </ul> <p>80% of services are running. <p> <h3><strong>National protest</strong></h3> </p></p> <p>The stoppages come a week after 60,000 people gathered in Brussels on 24 of May to protest against the social and economic policies of the liberal government of Prime Minister Charles Michel. <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Belgium is rising up! Over 60,000 union workers protest labor reform plans in Brussels. <a href="https://t.co/06oSpfVq2M">https://t.co/06oSpfVq2M</a> <a href="https://t.co/gaXIXz8eKU">pic.twitter.com/gaXIXz8eKU</a></p>— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) <a href="https://twitter.com/telesurenglish/status/735256583836295169">May 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p></p> <p>Mr Michel said: “We will continue to make decisions, reform and take action.”</p>