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3,200 people demonstrated in Brussels against the wage standards law |  Brussels

3,200 people demonstrated in Brussels against the wage standards law | Brussels

BrusselsSeveral thousand representatives of Christian and socialist trade unions gathered at Brussels North Station on Monday morning. It manifests itself, among other things, against the Standard Wage Act, which, according to the unions, prevents wages from rising properly.

According to Els van Diekery of the Brussels-Capital Police District, about 3,200 people – 6000 according to the unions – took part in the demonstration. It started at 10:30 am at Brussels North Station. About 11 am they left for Albertinaplein. The beginning of the demonstration was accompanied by violent explosions of firecrackers. The liberal trade union is not taking part in the demonstration in Brussels, but is calling for local measures that will support it.

Wage Law

In particular, unions are campaigning against the 1996 wage rule, which was created to limit wage increases in the private sector and preserve the competitive position of Belgian companies. The law allows wages to rise by just 0.4 percent to top the index next year.

Automatic wage indexing does not seem to capture everything and, for example, does not take fuel prices into account. “People are seeing higher prices in stores and at the pumps, while wages can only go up 0.4 percent,” said Mathieu Vergne, ACV’s national secretary. An increase in dividends to shareholders should be allowed. This is a message to employers and the government. This Wage Standards Act must be amended.”

In addition to the Standard Wage Act, unions are also demanding attention to the high energy bill, attacks on the index and the criminalization of union actions. They point to, among other things, the conviction of 17 unionists, including ABVV chief Thierry Bodson, for blocking a bridge on the E40 motorway in Liege.

© Mark Burt