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    Belgium’s teachers unite on pensions

    © Belga
    © Belga

    In a move that is rare enough to warrant mention, teachers’ unions in the north and south of the country have decided to join forces to press for recognition of the arduous nature of their profession in the federal pension reform. The unions have organized a national meeting of delegates for Wednesday to discuss this issue. A key element for discussion will be the pensionable age of teachers.

    Since the regionalisation of education in 1989, joint action involving teachers’ unions from the north and south has become rare.

    “If teaching is not on the list of arduous professions, actions will be inevitable in French-speaking and Dutch-speaking education”, the unions warn. They fear that the teaching profession might not be included in the list of arduous professions, whose members are authorized to retire before they attain the normal pensionable age.

    “The text of the bill clearly stipulates that the proposed coefficients are used solely to determine the date retiring. The preferential rate for pensions will go from 1/55th to 1/60th, which will reduce the current pension amount, even if teaching is recognized as an arduous profession”, the unions say. “We see this as nothing more or less than a breach of contract.”  

    The unions feel that “if teaching is not recognized as an arduous profession, that would lead to a new increase in the retirement age and, possibly, a reduction of the pension amounts. But, more than anything else, it would amount to a misunderstanding of the emotional and mental burden caused by the profession.”

    Wednesday’s meeting will be held at the Haute Ecole Odisee on rue d’Assaut, 2 in Brussels.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times