brussels - A Belgian train driver last week deliberately drove a snail's pace to arrive with a considerable delay. Cedric Grumiaux does that in order to be dismissed as quickly as possible.
The driver now works for the state-owned NMBS and can get a much better paid job at a private rail company. He gets twice as much salary, a lease auro and a mobile at the expense of the case.
'I would not want to go back myself,' says Bart Snyers (46), who earlier switched to Het Nieuwsblad.
'Opération Escargot' (Operation Snail), calls train driver Cedric Grumiaux from Bergen himself.
On Tuesday he arrived in Liège with a delay of 37 minutes. Earlier in the day he had also been called from Bergen to Tournai, and he arrived with a 13-minute delay.
'I want to be fired because I already have a contract with another company. The conditions are much better there. But NMBS obliges me to continue working for one more year. That is too long. '
Grumiaux is not the only one who wants to leave NMBS. 'In our depot there are seventy who want to make the switch. '
Since rail has been fully opened up in 2007, many private companies are attracting drivers from the NMBS.
'You can easily earn one and a half times as much,' says Bart Snyers (46) from the Limburg town of Herk-de-Stad, who works at Lineas against Het Nieuwsblad. 'I now earn 4,000 euros a month per month, double the amount I had at the NMBS. You also get a service car, a fuel card, a smartphone, a tablet. I would never want to go back. '
Cedric Grumiaux of Operation Snail says that his goal has been achieved. He must come to his boss for a critical interview. 'I understand that I risk a penalty. They can, in theory, dismiss me on the spot. You understand that I would not mind. '