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    Major opposition to reform of financing social security system

    All of the trade unions as well as several mutual organisations and wide-ranging national social movements, have united upon a given issue. They have signed a formal petition to denounce the reforms to finance the social security system, desired by the federal government.

    This was published today (Monday) by De Standaard, and echoed in Le Soir. Signatories say that this “planned reform strikes severe blows to the very essence of the social security model.”

    Signatories include the FGTB (Belgian Labour Federation), the CSC (The Confederation of Christian Trade Unions), the liberal trade union, and the Christian Mutuals. Also signatories in the mix are Solidaris (a Socialist Mutual), the Flemish and French Christian worker movements, as well as Présence et Action Culturelle (a cultural education movement).

    They are all targeting a political agreement concluded by the federal government on December 16th.

    Their main gripe is the new mechanism for financing social security. Currently, the social security deficit is systematically reduced by the mechanism of the balancing allowance.

    Signatory organisations say the government intends to provide exceptions to automatic top-up. “Although budget savings measures taken by the government in the sphere of social security have yielded little, it is anticipated that the balancing allowance will be reduced,” explains the President of Solidaris, Michel Jadot, cited by Le Soir.

    Signatories are also denouncing a provision which allows for a return to agreements signed by such social partners, and the exclusion of these groups from the management of the social security system.

    Mr Jadot laments that, “The government is henceforth looking to create a budgetary committee, made up of civil servants from the FPS Finance and those specialising in budget setting. There will be no representatives from trade unions or mutual organisations.”

    Signatories conclude, “Without any any change of course, which we strongly advocate, this will be the end of our social security model.”

    The bill is due to be debated in parliament at the beginning of this month (January).

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times