On June 20, the three largest Belgian trade union confederations including many IUF affiliates joined forces for the largest general strike in 10 years, with over 80,000 workers taking to the streets of Brussels to demand real wage increases.
Beginning in 1996 and continuing with key amendments in 2017, a law has blocked real salary negotiations in Belgium by ensuring that wage increases are limited by a calculation based on wages in neighbouring countries. This law applies to all sectors and imposes a maximum standard without taking into account possible profits or inflationary pressures and rapidly rising living costs. Workers demand a fair part for their efforts.
- In 2021, the maximum wage increase was 0.4% with an expected maximum wage increase in 2023 of 0%
- In 2021, salaries of the BEL20 (the 20 largest Belgian companies) CEO’s increased by 14.4% on average
- In 2021, more than half of Belgian companies increased their dividend payments with profit margins of Belgian companies exceeding those of neighbouring countries since 2015
Nidal El Amrani, a catering worker and union member, stated, “Our sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, and our employer quickly decided to resort to collective dismissal. Now we have to go back to work, and because of the lack of staff, we are doing the work of 3 people. This for a salary that does not correspond. We want to be valued!”