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National strike on 20 June expected to disrupt public transport and school exams

Illustration picture shows unattended buses at the Jacques Brel depot of STIB - MIVB Brussels public transport company during a previous strike. (BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE)
06:19 15/06/2022

Another national strike scheduled for 20 June by trade unions demanding better pay, better social dialogue and investment in the public sector will severely disrupt the functioning of public services, VRT and RTBF reports.

The action by a common front made up of socialist, Christian and liberal trade unions is expected to have serious consequences for public transport, administration services, prisons, waste collection, post distribution, education and public radio and television channels.

The strike has been organised to denounce a general malaise in the public sector. The trade union common front highlights a lack of resources and investment in the public sector, as well as a lack of respect for social dialogue on the part of the authorities. Workers' representatives are also calling for more purchasing power, investment and the strengthening of pensions.

The Stib-Mivb network will be heavily disrupted, and the Brussels public transport company has already warned people that they will need to make alternatives travel arrangements. On the Walloon side, the TEC network is also likely to be impacted.

Stib-Mivb said on Tuesday that it's currently impossible to evaluate the level of participation of its personnel in this strike, but it predicts heavy disruption to metro, tram and bus traffic.

The company said that its Contact Centre will be open from 06.00 on Monday morning and its website and app, as well its Facebook page and Twitter account, will be continuously updated with travel information throughout the day.

The strike comes on the same day as some secondary school exams, which could prove problematic for students and staff alike.

However, many schools have anticipated the problem with advance notice of the predicted traffic disruption being transmitted to pupils and parents. Most schools have advised their communities that the exams will go ahead as planned but staff, children and parents should make alternative travel arrangements for the day.

For many schools, already facing a challenge to finish term by the end of June, there was no question of asking for an extension to allow for the exams to take place on a different day.

Students are encouraged to do everything they can to make into school on Monday but for those who are unable to make it to their exams on 20 June, contingency plans have been put in place. Students will first have to provide proof of absence. Then the student’s teachers will provide a copy of the student's report cards for the last one to two years, as well as a detailed report on whether or not to award the certificate to the youngster in question.

A decision will then be made on a case-by-case basis, based on the student's results throughout the year.

Written by Nick Amies