Coronavirus: Flemish companies ‘ready’ to get back to business
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    Coronavirus: Flemish companies ‘ready’ to get back to business

    85% of Flemish companies polled in a survey said they were ready to restart activities in safe working conditions. Credit: Stock Image

    Business activities must be restarted as soon as possible in order to avoid staff layoffs and an economic “carnage,” an association of Flemish employers said.

    A survey of 1,000 businesses in Flanders showed that 85% among them wanted the government to greenlight the reboot of operations to avoid having to cut jobs.

    The survey was conducted by the Voka association of Flemish companies, who said that 1 in 5 businesses “felt compelled to fire employees soon,” according to an online statement.

    According to the association, 85% of the companies surveyed were ready for a restart and that they had taken or were taking the necessary measures to protect worker safety.

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    Keeping the country in the current “economic stranglehold” is no longer possible and would see Belgium head for a “carnage,” the statement read.

    “The longer this economic lockdown lasts, the greater the damage, the greater the carnage,” Voka CEO Hans Maertens said in a radio interview.

    With the lockdown shutting down all non-essential shops and businesses, companies have turned to temporary unemployment schemes to see them through the dry spell.

    Around half of those relying on the scheme believe they are ready to get back to work if the government allows them to after the latest lockdown deadline on 3 May, while the others say they will still need it during the coming months.

    The association also said that 85% of companies reported that their employees also supported a return to operations.

    The Flemish companies said they expected the National Security Council meeting on Friday to provide them with a “clear action plan” and time table for the return to business as usual.

    The CSC and the FGTB workers union were not available for a request for comment.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times