Mediator appointed to save social dialogue
A mediator has been appointed after the negotiations between employers and trades unions collapsed last night.Meanwhile, Belgium's PM Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat) has said that the federal goverment is prepared to take up its responsibility, provided that employers and trades unions sort things out first.
The key issue is money. Trades unions representing the employees are pressing for more guarantees to have wages increased over the next two years.
At the same time, employers point out that they are suffering from the economic crisis, demanding lower taxes on labour to have some breathing space.
The gap between the two parties turned out to be too big with social talks being suspended last night. Robert Tollet, chairman of the Central Council of Labour, has been appointed as mediator.
The government has already said that it is prepared to take extra measures, but only on the condition that employers and employees sort out their differences and reach an accord first.
If the federal government can come up with some extra cash, both the wishes of employers and trades unions could be implemented. PM Yves Leterme has said that, if necessary, the government will help out. Given the present economic crisis, it is vital that the issue be solved as soon as possible, key ministers agree.