Belgian unions attack government austerity plans and announce general strike

(18 January 2012) The Brussels region of the Mouvement Ouvrier Chrétien ([MOC->http://www.moc.be/]) addressed the Belgian government austerity measures and their implications. Speakers of ACV-CSC (the union confederation), the women’s and the youth movement, the mutualités (sicknessfunds) and the Belgian tax justice network underlined different aspects. The trade unions announced the general strike for 30 January 2012. All Belgian confederations will participate and mobilize. The perception of the participants was that the government is attacking the social model by abolishing the consultations and negotiations with the trade unions and employers. Right wing governments attack trade unions as the unions are the central organizing power of the resistance to government measures which seek to demolish the welfare and social states in many European countries. Examples include Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic as well as Greece. EPSU’s Deputy General Secretary {{Jan Willem Goudriaan}} addressed the audience on the European context, the situation in other countries, the actions of unions and the alternatives the union movement is proposing. “{Alternatives do exist. Measures can be taken to re-launch the European economy. Investment in public services and infrastructure will create jobs and sustainable growth. Striving to achieve tax justice, addressing fraud and speculation and introducing a tax on high incomes especially those generated from company profits and dividends should be introduced.}” Participants discussed the possibilities for European action and EPSU’s European Citizens Initiative on water. The meeting took place on 17 January 2012, in Brussels A website is available which details the consequences for different groups of workers of the measures of the Belgian government [www.degevolgen.be->www.degevolgen.be] (Dutch) and [www.lesconsequences.be->www.lesconsequences.be] (FR)

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