The impact of the pandemic has led to restructuring of some care homes in the Brussels region where employers are arguing that declining occupation rates and costs of anti-COVID measures are making some homes unviable. The Armonea (Colisée) group has announced plans to close one facility (Sebrechts) with the loss of 108 jobs while unions at the Senior Living Group, part of the Korian multinational, are looking at ways to avoid compulsory redundancies with a range of measures. The unions at the Sebrecht care home have issued a strike notice and there is determination to fight what is seen as a
A new agreement between unions, employers and the Flemish government has delivered a range of benefits for workers in various health and social services in the non-profit sector. Overall, there will be the equivalent of 3,716 new posts to help tackle high workloads. There will be a general 1.7% increase in wages but with some additional increases for those on the lowest pay rates and those will long service. In elderly care, the rehabilitation sector, psychiatric care homes and sheltered living initiatives, there will be a new pay structure from 1 July 2021, bringing pay rates in alignment
The CSC/ACV and FGTB/ABVV trade union confederations are planning a day of protests and strikes on 29 March to push their claims in the stalled negotiations over the biennial agreement for the private sector. This follows two days of action in February in support of the unions’ demands to increase what they say is an unacceptable 0.4% margin for negotiations over and above what’s provided by indexation. The confederations are also calling for a higher minimum wage, action on careers and retirement and a review of the legislation that regulates pay negotiations in the private sector. The CGSLB
The biennial cross-sector negotiations remain in stalemate with the employers refusing to budge on the 0.4% margin for negotiations. The confederations are arguing strongly that this is unacceptable and fails to recognise the differential impact of the pandemic across the economy and the need to acknowledge the additional risks faced by workers in dealing with the virus. A number of work stoppages and rallies took place across the country on 25 February to put pressure on the employers to come up with an improved offer.
The three main trade union confederations have jointly refused to continue negotiations over the next two-year pay deal for the private sector. They argue that the pay formula that guides the negotiations leaves only 0.4% as a basis for salary increases. The unions point out that this would mean only a EUR 6.00 gross increase on the minimum wage and just EUR 9.00 for many jobs deemed to be essential during the pandemic. The unions say that the formula, set in 1996 and revised in 2017, is inappropriate for the current situation and fails to take account of the economic impact of the virus.
Following a campaign of mobilisations and strike action, health unions have secured additional funding for the Iris group of hospitals in the Brussels region. This will be on top of the federal agreement on health funding earlier this year and will mean that an additional EUR 8 million a year will be available to improve working conditions over the next five years. The trade unions will start negotiations with management over implementing the improvements which will include full reimbursement of local travel costs on public transport and regular increases to the end-of-year bonus. CSC (FR)
The three main trade unions - CGSP/ACOD, ACV/CSC and SLFP/VSOA - organised a 48-hour national strike from 6am on 24 September in protest at proposals to relax the rules on prisoner visits. The unions are extremely concerned that the proposed changes come at a time of increasing infection and pose a serious threat to staff and inmates.
After a lengthy campaign of protests and industrial action, unions have secured an additional €1 billion in funding from the federal government to improve pay and conditions for health workers. €500 million will go towards the implementation of a new pay system and harmonisation of pay in the private and public sectors. Unions estimate this will mean pay increases of 5%-6%. €400 million will cover additional staff to ensure a better staff/patient ratio and 10% of this amount will contribute to improved training. €100 million is allocated to improving working conditions, including in particular
Health and social care trade unions have reinforced their demands for a major boost to pay and conditions, jobs and training in the health and social care sectors in response to the offer of a EUR 300 bonus to some health care staff. The bonus would be in the form of a voucher for spending in the retail and catering other specific sectors. However, it would only go to services directly funded by the federal government and so many care sector workers would miss out. Unions are also critical that it is tax and social contribution-free. Health and care trade unions have a series of key demands
18 June saw the beginning of a series of actions by health workers to give more visibility to their campaign to secure increased funding for the sector and their claims for more jobs and better pay and conditions. Physical actions in Brussels and Charleroi were combined with online photo and video actions, highlighting the key demands and the work done in the fight against COVID-19. There was also a guarded welcome for progress on additional funding for the sector with progress in the parliamentary process of approving additional funding of EUR 402 million which would include funding for 5000
When prime minister Sophie Wilmès visited the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels earlier this month she was met by rows of health workers with their backs turned. This reflected the growing anger among health workers about the failure of the government to deal with the pressing needs of the sector in terms of funding, staffing and personal protective equipment. Health trade unions are also angry about the two decrees (see CB News 9) on assistants carrying out nursing duties and requisitioning staff. Unions have issued official strike declarations in response to the failure to have a proper
Trade unions have strongly criticised the health minister for publishing two Royal decrees affecting health workers. The first would allow non-nursing staff to carry out some nursing duties. Unions say there are no details on how this would work in practice. The second provides powers to requisition health staff to work. The unions argue that this comes at a time when the infection rate is beginning to fall but more importantly was not even needed at the height of the crisis when health workers were doing all they could do fight the pandemic. The unions say that the decrees have been imposed
Members of the CNE and SETCA trade unions working at an eldercare home in Waterloo, south of Brussels, took strike action on 3 March to put pressure on management in advance of a conciliation meeting. The unions have been calling for action on staffing levels and say that currently employees are under so much pressure that they can only spend 16 minutes with each resident. Representatives of EPSU joined the picket. The home is run by the Orpea multinational and messages of solidarity were also sent from the ver.di union in Germany.