One interim worker in five is not receiving meal vouchers to which they have a right. The FGTB (General Federation of Belgian Labour) denounced this on Wednesday, during the Interim Workers Week which is presently taking place. Activists heckled, accompanied by participants in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange, to raise awareness of the problem.
Legally interim workers have the right, just like workers on fixed term contracts, to the benefits of meal vouchers and eco-vouchers. An internal investigation from the Socialist trade union, conducted amongst its business representatives, indicates that 20% of interim workers are not receiving them.
Interim workers are also largely deprived of other employee advantages, such as end-of-year presents, bonuses upon the birth of a child or marriage and additional days off. Neither are they entitled to health insurance, a benefit which is plainly not anticipated for them.
Werner Van Heetvelde, the President of the General Workers Union of the FGTB denounced, “In the most extreme cases, the advantages lost amount to a shortfall of €91 per week or €364 a month.” He went on, “The political world asserts that interim work has an equal status to salaried work. However this is incorrect. There are many forms of discrimination.”
The trade union proposed that at sectoral level there should be an interim fixed bonus. This would compensate for the advantages of which this category of workers are deprived. This was a proposal brushed aside by bosses, whilst “it exists in France and Germany.”
On the other hand, employers wish to confirm the continued existence of the fixed term contract in the meantime. The joint trade union states that this is “Completely out of the question.” Werner Van Heetvelde considers, “Interim employment should remain a temporary measure, and the existence of permanent contracts only serves to cement the disadvantages of the interim contract system.” He concludes, “We will not create jobs that way.” Negotiations are have thus been completely brought to a standstill in the interim sector.