Carrefour early pension plan raises questions of governmental responsibility

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 15:33
Carrefour wants to place about 600 people from the age of 56 on early retirement.
The social agreement with the retail chain has led to tension between Flemish minister of work Philippe Muyters (N-VA) and his federal counterpart Kris Peeters (CD & V).

"I have reread everything about the powers and responsibilities, and I am only authorised to give advise on outplacement,” said Muyters on the VRT early-morning radio show, De Ochtend.

The two disagreed after Carrefour announced that it wanted to place people from the age of 56 into the early retirement system, while retaining 95 percent of their wages. That arrangement conforms to current legislation, but that is where the controversy starts. "As long as the federal early retirement legislation exists, it will be applied," Philippe Muyters tweeted. "So please, Kris Peeters, amend that legislation. Or give authority to Flanders.”

Peeters points out that the regional ministers must first give a binding opinion on, among other things, employment, before he can finally decide. He plans to convene the three regional ministers. "In this dossier three regional ministers are responsible because Carrefour is located in Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders.”

Peeters pointed out via Twitter and in De Standaard that all ministers must approve the scheme at Carrefour, including the regions. If they reject the agreement, it will not happen. ‘If the restructuring plan is dismissed by the regional ministers, then I can not help but reject the restructuring plan,” he said.

Muyters again emphasized on De Ochtend that it was definitely Peeters who must decide. “The decision about early pension is a federal responsibility. That is not my choice at all.”

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) called on them to stop shifting blame, adding that he did not find early pension a good idea.

Arthur Rubinstein
The Brussels Tmes
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