“Staff are at a loss,” points out Nathalie Carabin, from the Crioc (consumer organisations research and information centre) communications department on Thursday, after its closure was announced and redundancy notices were sent to members of staff. A Renault procedure has been launched. “We received our redundancy notices on June 15th. But we don’t really know what is going to happen to us, as we don’t know how much money is really left in the bank,” complains Mrs. Carabin, worried that the notice period will not be paid. Staff are thus mentioning the option of getting help from the business closure fund. Furthermore, “we had an agreement whereby we did not need to work during our notice period, but things have turned out differently: we are all at work and have been told we must stay,” adds Mrs. Carabin, who also wonders what the point is of working for an institution which is closing down.
The Crioc board of directors announced the closure on April 14th. The decision followed a dramatic reduction in grants from the ministry of the Economy. As early as March, the ministry decided to send out redundancy notices to 21 members of staff and to launch the Renault procedure.
Kris Peeters, minister for Consumers, informed the press on June 10th that a new research group would be created for consumers’ organisations which would replace Crioc and would be called AB-Reoc. The minister anticipated a 500,000-euro grant, two thirds less than the Crioc enjoyed (1.7 million euros in 2013, 1.25 million in 2014). 5 to 6 jobs should be maintained of the 22 Crioc currently employs.
Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)