Police unions and Belgium’s Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) continue their struggle to find common ground in wage negotiations.
Having gone 20 years without a raise, the unions for police officers are disappointed in an offer of an additional €37.50 a month, which isn’t much higher than a previously rejected offer of €35 a month made in July this year.
The last salary increase police had was in 2001, and the VSOA union says the starting salary for new officers even decreased in the last two decades, which helps little in their efforts to recruit.
Gedurende de voorbije 20 jaar verminderde het loon van een startende inspecteur bij de politie zelfs! Is dit wat er bedoeld wordt met “aantrekkelijkheid van de functie” @AnneliesVl ?
👉 Daarom voert de politie actie! pic.twitter.com/Ws10DXIkqG
— VSOA POLITIE (@VSOAPOLITIE) November 21, 2021
Translation: During the last 20 years, the salary of a starting police inspector even decreased! Is this what is meant by “attractiveness of the job”? @AnneliesVl? That is why the police are taking action!
Union representatives met with Minister Verlinden on Thursday, but quit after what they described as a “stormy consultation,” according to De Standaard.
The unions had asked for three days in order to weigh proposals from the Minister, hoping that substantial adjustments would still be able to be made during Thursday’s negotiations.
“The minister presented a salary increase of 75 euros net per month, but it doesn’t cover the categories where we have the most staff,” Eddy Quaino of the socialist union CGSP-Admi told Belgian media.
“The inspectors, who number 22,000, would get only 37.50 euros net extra per month, which is far below our expectations.”
Quaino said the offer of a €35.00 increase made in July was “weak and insufficient. It’s not even the equivalent of an index jump.”
Minister Verlinden would not respond to questions about an improved proposal, except to say that “we are coming together” and that all negotiations centre around the shared goal of increasing the strength and attractiveness of the police force, which she hopes to do “in a serene and constructive manner.”
The Minister and unions will meet again on Tuesday, and no new strikes or actions are being planned by police in the meantime.