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    Proximus restructuring worries unions

    Credit: Belga

    The Proximus unions are concerned about a meeting that will be held Thursday. 

    The unions have been told the extraordinary joint committee, the equivalent of a works council, is meeting to discuss how the telecom operator could “transfer activities.” 

    La Libre Belgique reported the telecom operator’s directors requested the meeting, to be held at 5pm on the 11th of July. This was confirmed by Bart Neyers from the CGSP union. What exactly they will discuss has not been released. “It’s not nice to be called to a meeting without any documents to look at beforehand, it’s very unusual,” Neyers said. 

    Proximus is currently undergoing massive restructuring and this latest move has the unions worried. The only information they have is the meeting agenda’s title: “transferring activities.” The late time of the meeting also makes them think the items they will discuss could impact the stock market. 

    Bart Neyers is worried that the meeting will only touch on part of the restructuring plan Proximus announced back in January. The current plan involves the loss of 1,900 jobs and is currently under negotiation with the unions.

    Neyers thinks Proximus’ bosses want to sub-contract management of the mobile network. “That would mean moving 108 full-time jobs. Other operators have already sub-contracted this work to third parties.” This kind of transfer mainly concerns technicians and engineers who maintain pylons with GSM antennas. 

    The unions have warned they would not be happy with this. “The idea is not to only tackle part of the issue. We started officially negotiating the plan last month, but we haven’t made one ounce of progress,” the CGSP said. They are worried people who move to a sub-contractor would no longer be covered by any voluntary departure plan. 

    Bart Neyer said the semi-public company’s restructuring negotiations are not progressing because the directors are continuing to threaten the unions with forced redundancy. “We want this cloud lifted. Threats don’t get us anywhere.” The unions have said they don’t think they will find a compromise by the end of the summer. 

    Proximus’ directors didn’t want to talk about the meeting’s agenda. 

    Sarah Johansson
    The Brussels Times