(21 March 2017) More than 17,000 Belgian health and care workers took to the streets of Brussels today in protest against austerity-related problems and creeping privatisation, in the non-profit and public health and care sectors.
EPSU staff joined with the thousands of boisterous trade unionists on this national demonstration, who are calling on the Belgian government and employers to tackle the major issues impacting on their sector, due to the implementation of failing austerity measures. Austerity policies have lead to understaffing, excessive workloads, poor pay and increasingly stressful working conditions in Belgian’s non-profit health and social sectors.
EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan speaking from the march said: "We expect this action to give momentum to negotiations to secure a new multi-year agreement, for these workers. There needs to be improved pay and conditions and a better work-life balance. A new collective agreement is clearly needed in this situation".
‘Once gain we see how misguided austerity measure are placing unnecessary pressure on both public services and the dedicated staff who work in these sector. Improving the quality of employment and services in the non-profit care sectors is vital in order to better meet the needs to the millions of patients and clients who are reliant on these services’.
EPSU has highlighted the fact that the problems of underfunding, understaffing and poor pay and conditions are problematic in many European countries, these factors influence the quality of the care workers can provide.