Belgian police threaten strikes over lack of mouth masks
Wednesday, 01 April 2020
Belgium’s police unions have threatened to strike to express their dissatisfaction with the lack of mouth masks, confirms Carlo Medo of NSPV.
The three police unions NSPV, VSOA and ACV do not want mouth masks to be removed from health personnel. “That should be clear”, they said, as reported by Het Nieuwsblad.
The notice – filed on Wednesday – does not provide a date for a possible strike.
The police unions “understand that all available mouth masks go to the nursing staff first,” said Rudi Moerman of NSPV. “But agents also often come into contact with people and are used to prevent the spread of corona. Agents are also entitled to minimum protection and there is currently no, or insufficient, protection and it does not seem that the government is going to hurry to provide the material. This cannot go on like this.”
“For some of the tasks that policemen are doing today, such as border controls, breaking up gatherings that sometimes involve spitting or intervening in family situations, our people really don’t get enough protection,” the unions agreed.
“We would like the government to reconsider its position and admit that police officers are indeed a priority professional category,” they said.
Federal and local police have jointly agreed to submit an identical strike notification. “In the end, in addition to the police officers who need to be protected, the whole population would be a little better protected, because a police officer comes across a lot of citizens during the whole working day, and in the absence of a mask, becomes a possible disseminator of the disease,” the trade unions said.
When, and if, the strikes will come to pass remains unclear. Unions have made it clear that first and foremost, they want to be heard.