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Union calls ceasefire in retirement dispute

Published on 14/12/2005

14 December 2005

BRUSSELS — Socialist union ABVV has called a temporary ceasefire to its industrial action campaign against the federal government’s ‘generation pact’.

The union said parts of the pact remain unacceptable, but it will not stage further protests in the short term.

Instead, it said other challenges are looming, such as the National Bank’s call for wage moderation to protect Belgium’s economic competitiveness.

The ABBV said in a press release it was opposed to a negative course of wage moderation as seen in the Netherlands and Germany. It warned of an economic recession and rising unemployment if such a policy was imposed.

The ABVV has taken centre stage in two national strikes and ongoing sector work stoppages in recent months to protest against the generation pact.

The pact aims to boost youth employment, restructure the social security system and raise the minimum early retirement age from 58 to 60.

Unions are especially concerned about the impact the retirement reforms will have on women, part-time workers and those who have been unemployed in the past.

Both the ABVV and Christian union ACV are also demanding a lower retirement age for workers in physically tough jobs.

The ABVV has promised in the long-term to continue its protest campaign and may stage further strikes in the New Year. The ACV had earlier decided on a temporary ceasefire.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news