Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oh, the Shame...!

I arrived in the office in a pretty foul mood. The traffic this morning was probably one of the worst I've seen so far (on the way to work that is). I think from my house up to the motorway, about 1-2 km, took nearly an hour. Quite strange since I haven't been impacted this much by traffic for months now. Albeit, I've been trying to avoid it.

Anyways, when I got in, I noticed that the road into town was still blocked at around 9:30 AM. So I asked a general question to my colleagues to see if there was something that I missed. It turns out, the Brussels public transport went on strike. Nothing new, this happens about twice a year on average. We just get through it.

This time, though, it wasn't simple striking for wage increase or anything of the sort. No, the conductors of the trams, busses and metros walked out this morning to protest about something that happened last night. Apparently at the end of one of the metro lines, when the conductor had to walk out of his cabin to change ends, he was attacked. No serious injuries, luckily.

I was appalled by this information. It's absolutely disgusting to do something like that. These guys are working hard to earn an honest living. And by doing something like this, you end up hurting the million people who live in the city, and the other hundreds of thousands who have to commute in and out for work or other reasons.

For the first time then, I fully support a strike. Something has to be done. When I used to take public transport, I saw more than my fair share of abuse towards the conductors and a general disgusting behaviour towards public property. Yes, the public transport system in this city is pretty lousy compared to the neighbouring cities around Belgium. This doesn't give anyone the right to be stupid.

Strike I say! I'll just leave for work earlier, and come back home later! You have my support and solidarity!

UPDATE: Well, it turns out the security video footage shows that the conductor let loose the first blow to the offending member of the public. So I'm not as convinced about the right or wrong of this case in particular anymore. However, violence towards the public transport guys cannot be tolerated. This point alone makes it reasonable to strike...

Image source: STIB/MIVB

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