Belgian railways are going nowhere fast today as rail workers strike on national and international lines. The 24-hour stoppage has crippled high-speed links via Brussels between the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Britain. “This movement is more successful today than any other action we’ve taken in the last few years. we are completely fed up. I think, given the problems we’ve already had with restructuring, the management couldn’t care less about us”, said one union leader.
Pay and conditions are at the heart of the dispute for Belgian railway’s 38 000 workers. Traffic snarled-up around the capital, and while locals appeared well-prepared, many tourists were caught out, and unhappy with the alternative arrangements;
“Now we have to wait for a bus to go to Lille and wait. We are four people, and we have to wait to complete forty people to fill the bus, and so we have problems here”, said one stranded Frenchman.
Travellers face long coach trips, laid on by Air France, to make their connections to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Up to half a million people use the network every day. The strike ends at 10 pm local time.