Red Cross volunteers “shocked and insulted” by B. Tommelein’s proposition
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
French-speaking Red Cross volunteers were “shocked to hear a member of the government” associate what they do with working on the black, the Red Cross spokesman said on Monday afternoon. The State secretary for the fight against Social Fraud, Bart Tommelein, was interviewed by the Gazet van Antwerpen on Saturday. He said that people who do small jobs for neighbours or work for an association must go through the legal channels via a reasonable payment. “I have received numerous emails from volunteers who say they feel insulted by what he said”, explains Nancy Ferroni, Red Cross spokesman. ‘Volunteering is one of the seven fundamental principles of the Red Cross. Volunteers only get paid travel expenses”. Recognising the fact that working for the association for free could seem “incongruous”, the French-speaking Red Cross, along with its Flemish counterpart, invited the State secretary to spend a day with its volunteers.
Reacting on Saturday, Bart Tommelein said he had in no way wanted to accuse the Red Cross of employing people on the black, and wanted to create a clearer status for volunteers.