Since the reform under former Home Minister Jean Gambon (N-VA), the Civil Defense has had to make do with at least 810 fewer staff, both professional and volunteer staff. This was reported by the VSOA government consortium on Friday.
The reform came into effect on January 1, 2019. Among other things, it included a redirection of tasks between the Fire Service and Civil Defense. Coordination was also made between the two platforms to facilitate the movement between the two emergency services. Most striking, however, was that four of the six barracks were closed, leaving only those in Crisnée and Brasschaat – Jambon’s main base.
In connection, VSOA refers to the “disturbing situation” of the workforce. Before the reform, the civil defense had 266 professional employees on the French-speaking side and 247 on the Dutch-speaking side. The volunteers involved 379 and 315 employees, respectively.
According to figures provided by the Home Affairs union on January 1 last year, the workforce fell by 127 people to 139 Crisnée professionals and 129 volunteers, which is also a decrease of 250 people, according to VSOA Director Eric Labourdette. In Prachat there were 122 professionals (-125) and 67 volunteers (-308).
“This is a decrease of 810 people since the famous civil security reform,” said the liberal unionist. “Civil Defense has been completely eroded federally to save the security of residents and first responders.”
In July 2020, the House of Representatives approved a resolution asking the government to review the reform.