Over 80,000 people joined the national demonstration in Brussels on 20 June organised by the three main trade union confederations FGTB/ABVV, CSC/ACV, CGLSB/ACLVB. The unions want to see a change to the legal framework that imposes limits on the cross-sector pay negotiations and leaves trade unions with little room to bargain on top of the indexation system. EPSU’s Belgian affiliates all joined the march, along with EPSU staff.
The three trade union confederations ACV/CSC, ABVV/FGTB and ACLVB/CGSLB are building for their national demonstration on 20 June. This is part of the trade union movement’s campaign to put pressure on the government to do more to protect workers against inflation and to reform the wage law that imposes restrictions on the scope to negotiate pay rises in the biennial, cross-sector collective bargaining. Petitioning by the unions has already paid off as it has given them the opportunity to take part in a parliamentary hearing on 29 June.
The three trade union confederations – ACV/CSC, ABVV/FGTB, and ACLVB/CGLSB are continuing their campaigns around pay and their calls to reform the law on salaries that imposes limits on the pay increases that trade unions can negotiate. The confederations are highlighting the impact of surging inflation on workers and are putting pressure on the employers and government to address the problem, deliver fair pay and revise the law that sets the wage norm. A series of actions were organised around the country on 22 April and a national demonstration is planned for 20 June.
The revelations of poor treatment of both workers and residents by the Orpea care multinational have prompted unions across Europe to take action. In Belgium, the company has been approached to address questions of staffing levels and working conditions with the unions underlining the essential link between the well-being of workers and that of the people they care for. The unions are calling for negotiations on both the quality of employment and quality of service along with initiatives to make working in the sector more attractive to tackle the need to retain staff and recruit more workers
The three trade union confederations – ACV/CSC, ABVV/FBTG and ACLVB/CGLSB – have launched a petition on pay with the aim of securing 25000 signatures and getting a debate in parliament. The confederations want to see changes to legislation that impose restrictions on the scope for negotiating pay rises. They argue that the current system leaves little room for manoeuvre and means that increasing inflation is eating rapidly into workers’ purchasing power. The unions want to ensure that the current system of indexation is maintained and also to allow for the right to negotiate on pay at all
The two main trade union confederations – FGTB/ABVV and CSC/ACV – are jointly organising a national demonstration on 6 December. They want to raise the problem of defending living standards as inflation increases, particularly driven by soaring energy prices. The confederations want to ensure that there is real space for proper negotiations and are challenging the provisions of the 1996 law that restricts the scope for pay increases. In the recent biennial negotiations the margin for increasing pay above inflation was limited to 0.4%. The confederations also want to defend trade union rights
The FGTB/ABVV trade union confederation will appeal against the conviction of 17 trade unionists for their involvement in a road block during the general strike of 18 October 2015. On 19 October 2021, the Court of Appeal of Liège confirmed the judgement pronounced in November 2020 by the criminal court, with the activists given suspended prison sentences of 15 days or one month and fines ranging from €1,200 to €2,100 euros. The judgment was based on the offence of "malicious obstruction of traffic" provided for in Article 406 of the Belgian Penal Code which had been used before to convict a
An estimated 15000 people joined a demonstration in Brussels on 24 September calling for a change to the legislation that regulates the cross-sector negotiations in the private sector. The protest was organised by the FGTB/ABVV confederation which argues that the current rules impose an excessive restriction on the unions’ scope for negotiation. In the latest biennial negotiations, the law meant that there was only an additional 0.4% that could be added to the normal increase for inflation. The FGTB argues that the law is more focused on keeping Belgian companies competitive rather than taking
The CNE/CSC trade union has strongly criticised health sector employers for failing to sign five key collective agreements to improve working conditions. The agreements have been negotiated following the major social agreement signed last year which allocated more than EUR 1 billion to the sector. A new salary structure has been in place since 1 July in the federal health sectors and many health staff have seen a significant increase in pay, some over 10%. However, the employers have since failed to sign agreements covering stabilisation of work schedules and employment contracts (including
After a final, lengthy round of bargaining, the cross-sector negotiations covering the private sector ended in the early hours of 8 June. The three trade union confederations are in the process of consulting with their members on the outcome. The main development is the proposed increase in the minimum wage – the first since 2008 – which will see an increase in the monthly amount from EUR 1625.72 to EUR 1702 in April 2022. There will be further increases in 2024 and 2026 which along with changes to taxation will mean net increases of EUR 100 and EUR 150. The deal also includes some
Several unions representing workers in early years education came together on 5 May in a day of strike action and a demonstration in Brussels. Workers are angry about the impact of the pandemic on the sector and the failure of the authorities in the Wallonia and Brussels regions to address their concerns. The unions were also demanding a revaluation of pay in the sector and a range of other measures to deal with staffing issues, leave, contracts and increased public funding.
The three main trade union confederations are pleased that, following the national day of action on 29 March 29, the government agreed to separate negotiations on welfare from those on pay. This was a key demand of the trade unions who agreed to approve the funds allocated to a range of payments from unemployment benefit to pensions. The budget of more than 700 million euros intended to maintain the lowest benefit rates should have been implemented last September, but the employers wanted to link it to an agreement on wages. The unions are disappointed that it took so long to arrive at an
In February this year, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber, the driving, and delivery platform, should treat its drivers as workers and not as self-employed. This follows a trend across Europe where courts in several countries have forced digital platforms to revise the employment relationship with the workers providing their services. Platform work is changing the economic and social landscape, revolutionising the way services are delivered while raising major questions about social and labour rights.
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