Belgian health strike to go ahead
23 February 2005
BRUSSELS – Belgian health services will strike on Thursday after rejecting a government compromise on working conditions.
Some hospitals, rest homes and home help services will be operating at a minimum level, the health sector has warned.
The strike was called after the largest health union, the Christian CSC, rejected a last minute government compromise on an employment convention.
The overwhelming CSC opposition overruled a Socialist move to call off industrial action.
CSC, and the Flemish LBC in particular, said the strike would serve as a warning to the government, which it claims had demanded too many concessions from medical staff.
The unions accused Budget Minister Johan Vande Lanotte of blocking negotiations by bringing the question of the end of careers into the political arena.
The CSC has rejected a pay offer of a flat-rate EUR 430 on top of the annual salary, demanding a full thirteenth month.
It also expects more holidays for the over 45s and over 50s and better training and pension rights.
Social Affairs Minister Rudy Demotte believes, however, that a solution can be found to the impasse.
The strike action appears to have divided the country, with Flemish workers taking a more militant approach than their French-speaking colleagues.
Disruption to health services is expected to be worse in the north and south of the country, while in Wallonia unions are planning to return to the negotiating table soon.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news