On Wednesday, around 350 police officers expressed their dissatisfaction about the unclear pension scheme, low salaries and politicised police unions in Brussels.
The demonstration left Brussels Central Station and marched to the office of Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, blocking several crossroads along the way.
The protesters say they do not feel valued either by their unions – which they claim are politically influenced – or by the government, Belga News Agency reports.
“They negotiate with the government without our knowledge and draw up a list of demands without consulting their base,” explains Steven Vanhacht, initiator and member of the federal judicial police in Liege. “I also wonder why there are no elections in the police unions. If we don’t think they are effective they should be replaced.”
Another concern for these police officers is the new government budget, in which officers again see cuts. The protesters call for more investment to make the job more appealing.
“The current plans will see early retirement abolished and nobody knows at what age we can take our pension. In addition, salary rates have not changed for 20 years. This is unheard of in any Belgian company,” added Vanhacht.
“If they want to make the service attractive, they must also make the salary attractive. I would not advise a young person to join the police today,” he concluded.