Workers and their unions in Belgium are refusing to bear the burden of the cost-of-living crisis alone. Dividend payouts to shareholders are up 25% in 2022. Meanwhile energy prices are skyrocketing (gas +130%, electricity +85% in a year) and negotiated salary increases are capped by an arcane anti-worker law. UNI Europa stands in full support of the general strike on 9 November 2022.
A restrictive law, known as the “law of 1996” imposes a cap on how much salaries can be increased through collective bargaining. This cap stood at 0.4% increase after indexation in 2021 and is set to be 0% this year. Meanwhile profit margins of Belgian-based corporations stand at a record high of 46% this year, which has risen from 36% in 1996, when the law was brought in.
“Across the services sectors, workers are taking action. Through their union action, they are calling for an end to the outrageous double standards. The straight jacket that limits their freedom to bargain for fair pay rises must be removed. Now is the time to do away with laws that transfer income share away from workers and towards the wealthiest in our society. In the face of policy inaction, we will continue to ramp up collective union action,” said Oliver Roethig.
UNI Europa affiliated trade unions will be picketing workplaces across the country. The day-long general strike follows a trade union demonstration of over 80,000 people in Brussels on 20 June.
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