De Bruyckere Voka: Our consultation model is obsolete

10th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

The Flemish employment organisation Voka gathered in Antwerp yesterday to celebrate the New Year. President Luc De Bruyckere criticizes the current social consultation in Belgium and wants to involve the representative organisations of the federated regions the employers’ organisations of Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia in the negotiations. The Belgian employers’ organisations VBO, UNIZO and Association des Classes Moyennes have been negotiating  with the trade unions in the Group of Ten on social issues so far. Now the Flemish Voka demands to join the negotiations on the next interprofessional agreement IPA, where employers and unions meet every two years to discuss wage developments and social contributions for employees. According to De Bruyckere state reform has devolved more than enough powers to the federated states including job market policy to involve their regional employers’ organisations. Therefore Voka plans to discuss the issue with its Belgian sister organisation VBO. Voka has been equally critical of consultation at Flemish level. The employers' organisation is tired of participating in consultation within superfluous bodies. Says De Bruyckere: “We have passed on the decision to Minister-President Kris Peeters CD&V. For some time now we have been aware of the fact that we sit on dozens of advisory boards and consulting committees of which we question the actual merit. What does one do with all the advice? Quite often the answer is nothing. We therefore plan to leave a number of advisory committees. Informal talking platforms should not be kept alive artificially. Useful consulting bodies such as SERV The Social and Economic Council fo Flanders could be re-evaluated.” De Bruyckere further scoffed at the clumsy decisionmaking in Flanders with regard to a number of dossiers, referring to the Oosterweel Link in Antwerp and the Uplace shopping centre in Machelen a suburb of Brussels. With reference to Belgium, De Bruyckere calls for a new state reform. “First we have to tackle the implementation of the current agreement. But a whole range of decisions have not progressed enough, even if they are going  in the right direction. To facilitate uniform decision-making, we should restart debate after the next elections in 2014. That is unavoidable.” De Bruyckere further believes that a number of regional and federal powers remain fragmented. In addition to the job market policy, structural measures are needed in the pension sector and unemployment system. In view of the reluctance of French-speakers to reform social security, there may be no other option but to transfer the reform to the regions, he believes. His harshest words were however reserved for the bonuses which may be awarded to Dexia top executives. De Bruyckere called the bonuses incomprehensible and unacceptable in a business that received a 50 million euro guarantee from the government.

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