Union split looms again innew national strike threat

22nd November 2005, Comments 0 comments

22 November 2005, BRUSSELS — Socialist union ABVV leaders still think the federal government's 'generation pact' is unacceptable and are widely expected to urge for continued strike action on Tuesday.

22 November 2005

BRUSSELS — Socialist union ABVV leaders still think the federal government's 'generation pact' is unacceptable and are widely expected to urge for continued strike action on Tuesday.

The three most important unions in the ABVV federation and the most important Wallonian union, based in Liège, are expected to officially reject the hard-fought government concessions to the controversial pension reform package.

It appears certain that the public service union, the white collar union and construction and chemical workers union will drag other ABVV unions along with them to reject the generation pact.

The talk of the moment is that the ABVV wants to continue striking until the government collapses.

However, the government has firmly said its generation pact — which aims to boost employment and retain older workers by lifting the minimum early retirement age — is vital for the country's economic wellbeing.

Unconvinced by the government's hard talk though, ABVV leader Xavier Verboven sought out support from Christian union ACV chief Luc Cortebeeck on Monday, but to no avail.

The ACV is less than willing to stage further industrial action now that the government has indicated it is not prepared to further amend its proposals.

Belgium has already been disrupted by two national strikes in recent months and various other regional work stoppages as unions sought and gained the government concessions.

A new split in the union front is thus at threat, following the refusal by the ACV to back the ABVV-led national strike on 7 October. Union solidarity appeared to have been restored with the joint national strike on 28 October.

Government ministers remained tightlipped on Monday about the threatened strike, with Employment Minister Peter Vanvelthoven opting to wait for the official union decision on Tuesday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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