Yesterday workers on the metro, trams and buses struck for a fourth straight day after one of their colleagues was beaten to death on the job. They vowed not to return to work until the government deals with their long-standing security concerns.
The action by workers at the Societe des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB) is paralysing the capital. It kicked off after a STIB inspector was killed on Saturday. He was at the scene of a minor accident between a bus and a car when a friend of the car driver reportedly laid into him. The 56-year-old man of Albanian origin who had worked for the agency for 29 years died of head injuries later in the day. The suspect has been arrested.
Unions have been demanding stepped-up security on transport routes for years, citing an increasing number of violent acts committed by members of the public. STIB spokesman Francoise Ledune said staff resent being expected to act as policemen. "We already do a lot and maybe even too much. We do a role that is not necessarily ours. Action in the short term must be taken at political level," he said.