Both employers and employees in childcare sector on strike today
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Both employers and employees in childcare sector on strike today

Credit: Belga

Both employers and employees of childcare centres and school health promotion services in Brussels and Wallonia will go on strike on Thursday to highlight their difficult working situation, which they say has been made worse by the coronavirus crisis.

In collaboration with the employers’ federations and trade unions of the employees in the childcare sector, they are drawing attention to the problems with underfunding, their difficult working conditions, low salaries, and difficult end of careers.

“We are not used to working together. This is proof that there is a fundamental malaise with the government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation,” Yves Hellendorff, national non-market secretary for the Christian trade union CNE, told RTL. 

In general, they are calling for recognition and acknowledgment of the importance of their jobs in times of pandemic, as well as the rapid vaccination of staff in direct contact with young children.

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The unions are also expressing concerns about the future of reforms of childcare settings, voted for by the previous majority, on which the unions say the government is “backtracking with a budget cut that would jeopardise several projects,” said Hellendorff.

He pointed to the increase in supervision standards, the transition of many contracted childcare workers to salaried status, and the funding of thousands of new places expected to make childcare accessible to all families, which could be in jeopardy now.

“In the ONE (Office for Birth and Childhood) management contract that will be put on the government’s agenda, the funding for the reform would be reduced from 125 million to 50 million euros,” says Yves Hellendorff.

The cabinet of the Minister for Children in the Walloon-Brussels Federation, Bénédicte Linard said discussions are still ongoing.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times