On Friday, the Employment Minister, Kris Peeters (Flemish Christian Democrats), sent draft legislation to social partners altering the 1996 law on the promotion of employment and maintaining competitiveness. This includes regulations fixing conditions for wage negotiation, which currently leads, every two years, trade unions and employers into lengthy discussions before reaching agreement. This is reported today (Tuesday) in La Libre Belgique.
The Michel government wishes to sustain efforts (including significant index increases, limits to the payroll standard and reduction in employer social security contributions) to remove Belgium’s wage handicap against the three main comparator countries (Germany, France and the Netherlands).
The government would like to prevent “all future possibility of wages spiraling of control.”
According to the draft legislation, the margin for negotiation will be reduced and corrected in the two years to come, thereby totally wiping out the wage handicap.
Moreover, future reductions in social security contributions granted to employers will not be taken account of in the calculation of the wage gap with neighbouring countries, to avoid an increase in wages, according to the newspaper.
Lastly monitoring of compliance with the wage cushion and sanctions in case this is exceeded in one or other sector or business, will be increased.