'Room for higher wages', says Federal Employment Minister

'Room for higher wages', says Federal Employment Minister
Economy Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne. Credit: Belga / Dirk Waem

In light of the record profit margins recorded by Belgian companies this year, Pierre-Yves Dermagne of the French-speaking centre-left Parti Socialiste has called for wages to be increased.

On Monday, the National Bank of Belgium (BNB) revealed that the profit margins of companies in Belgium – particularly in the industry and energy sectors – had risen to 45.2% in the second quarter of 2022, the highest level recorded since the bank started counting these figures.

These findings also precede the Central Economic Council's upcoming report on wage margins, which will seek to quantify the potential margin for wage increases in Belgium over the next few years.

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Dermagne cited this year's record high levels of inflation which undermine the purchasing power of lower earners. In a tweet, the minister called attention to the high business profits, making a strong case for these to be distributed more fairly among employees in the form of wage increases.

This goes against appeals from employers to postpone automatic wage indexations owing to the increase in costs their businesses will incur.

Dermagne was backed by the Christian trade union CSC, whose general secretary Marie-Hélène Ska stated that the BNB figures showed that there is clearly space for salary increases. The union has already organised strike actions to demand better measures to shield employees from the rising cost of living.

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