Expatica news

Belgian builders losing out to E Europe

26 February 2004

BRUSSELS – Builders in Belgium are losing customers daily to cheaper competitors from Eastern European countries, Flemish newspapers Het Niewsblad and Het Volk reported on Thurdsday.

According to the two newspapers there are around 30,000 East European builders, most of them from Poland, working in Belgium and offering their services for as little as EUR 5 an hour.

Belgian builders charge far more than this.

The papers reported that the main Flemish builders’ federation Bouwunie feels its members are facing unfair competition from their East European counterparts.

The federation argued that under Belgian rules on temporary workers, builders from countries like Poland, the Czech Republic or Bulgaria are exempted from making social security payments into Belgian state coffers.

Instead they can continue paying into their own national schemes, which demand considerably lower sums than Belgium does.

The fact that their costs are lower means they can offer their services for a price Belgian builders simply cannot compete with, Bouwunie complained.

The federation warned that many Belgian building firms could go bust if the situation did not change.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news