SNCB staff have announced a strike action this Wednesday and Thursday 6 and 7 January.
Major traffic jams are also expected on the roads.Some workers will therefore arrive late or will be unable to get to work at all.
What position should be taken with regard to these workers?
Under Article 27, 1° of the Employment Contract Act of 3 July 1978, full daily wages are due to the worker if, at the time of reporting to work, he is able to work and if he, getting to the place of work in a normal way, arrives late or fails to turn up at all, provided that this delay or absence are due to a cause that occurred on the way to work and that is independent of his will.
Workers who arrive late or do not arrive at all at their place of work because of the strike action of the SNCB staff can, in principle, not be entitled towages for the hours not worked.
The strikes were in fact announced several days ago. The media widely reported this information. The reason for the delay or absence at work (strike by public transport company staff) is therefore not unexpected and comes before the worker's departure. Consequently, the worker could have made alternative arrangements to arrive to work on time.
=> Still, a good degree of common sense and understanding is required. Even if the worker takes all necessary measures (e.g. leaving earlier), he is not always sure whether he will arrive to work on time. It is also possible that the worker cannot make it into work because it is impossible to use his own car, he cannot be taken to work by a colleague or go on foot.
Remark - Workers who do not wish to suffer any loss of pay may, by agreement with their employer, take a day’s holiday or time off in lieu.
Source: article 27, 1° of the Employment Contract Act of 3 July 1978.
Auteur: Catherine Legardien