Expatica news

Workmen caught in language spat

23 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Wallonian central heating installers could soon be forbidden to work in Flanders unless they pass a Dutch test, it was reported on Thursday.

A new decree planned by the Flemish authorities would require any French-speaking workmen to pass a language test that includes technical terms relating to their profession.

It follows a similar decree that banned Wallonian vehicle hire companies from allowing people to be picked up or dropped off in Flanders.

In future, Flanders will no longer recognise the professional certificates of Wallonian central heating installers and some are now worried that they will lose clients.

“I have some knowledge of Dutch but I am not sure I will pass the test,” said one worker from Waterloo.

“If this decree is passed, I risk losing clients in Tervuren, Kraainem and Linkebeek. Not everyone who lives in Flanders is Flemish. My clients in these three communes are largely French and English-speaking,” he said.

Until the profession was regionalised all central heating installers received a national registration number after completing a 60 hour course in their mother tongue.

Regionalisation made it compulsory for everyone to obtain three certificates from the Brussels, Flemish and Wallonian regions.

French qualifications were recognised but now Flanders is trying to overturn this.

Flemish companies have been accused of trying to muscle in on business in Wallonia while protecting their own home turf.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news