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Union protests could spill over into 2015

However, if Belgium’s centre-right administrations fail to make changes to their austerity drive industrial action could also spill over into 2015.

On Monday the socialist public sector union ACOD gave a notification of unlimited industrial action in 2015.

The union is putting pressure on the government to modify its changes to the pension system for public sector workers as well as its decision not to replace most civil servants who retire.

The notification means that protests by trades unionists after the general strike on Monday 15 December will also be covered. The notification affects the Belgian rail company NMBS, but also the police service and the prisons.

ACOD president Chris Reniers: “If the federal government doesn’t make a step towards the unions, fresh actions become inevitable.”

Socialist trade unionist Rudy De Leeuw earlier told VRT News: “The government isn’t creating any margin to roll back its measures. As long as there is no room to manoeuvre, we will continue to come out onto the streets.”

The Christian union ACV too has warned strike action could go into extra time. ACV president Marc Leemans yesterday threatened that protests will continue until the government listens to the voice of the unions.

“The government is being affected by these protests. We will continue to make them feel it in dribs and drabs.” Mr Leemans says it’s a shame strike action has to be taken but blames “a government that refuses to listen to us.”

“The government wants to amputate EUR 3 million off public services, but the rich will be the last to notice anything.”


Flandersnews.be / Expatica