Agreement on heavy labour rules for public sector employees

Agreement on heavy labour rules for public sector employees

The federal pensions minister has reached an agreement with public sector unions on the rules governing pension rights for employees considered to be working in “heavy labour” jobs, a spokesperson for the CSC/ACV union said. The list consists of police officers, military personnel, fire-fighters and some categories of teacher.

Other groups include railway workers involved with overhead lines and signals, train drivers and conductors and members of Securail.

The status of postal workers and air traffic personnel has yet to be agreed, the union said.

Discussions will continue on those matters, as well as the question of heavy labour in the private sector. The question is considered important in that it relates to matters such as retirement age; workers in the jobs considered heavy may retire up to six years earlier than others, although the government has imposed an absolute floor of 60 years on all.

The agreement, described by federal pensions minister Daniel Bacquelaine as “an important step” will be put before government minister on Friday.

The criteria for the category of heavy labour include not only the literal description of heavy labour, but also jobs which involve danger or simply difficult work organisation, such as unsocial shifts.

“We are reasonably positive regarding certain technical matters,” said ACOD president Chris Reniers. “There have been positive moves made.”

Meanwhile federal deputy Vincent Van Quickenborne, warned that Bacquelaine’s consensus would only come into force if the government approves it. His N-VA party, together with liberals Open VLD, oppose the agreement.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

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