Belgian labour law violates right to collective bargaining, says ILO

Belgian labour law violates right to collective bargaining, says ILO
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The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has determined that Belgian labour law, which sets strict limits on private sector wage increases, is incompatible with the right to collective bargaining.

In an official report delivered by the organisation's Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA), it was noted that Belgian labour law poses "a significant restriction on the ability of social partners to negotiate autonomously the evolution of the level of wages in the private sector".

The CFA further called on the Belgian Government to implement "necessary measures" to ensure that collective bargaining — a right enshrined in an ILO Convention ratified by Belgium in 1953 — remains protected under Belgian labour law.

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The complaint was brought to the ILO by the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (ACV), Belgium's largest trade union federation after the ACV failed to persuade the De Croo Government to amend Belgium's labour law.

Although the Belgian Government is not technically obliged to obey the ILO's decision, it is nevertheless believed that it will take appropriate amendatory legislative action. In a recent Federal Parliament committee meeting, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib claimed that Belgium, as "one of the nine founding members of the ILO ... has always supported the ILO and its standards system".

If no legislative amendments are forthcoming, however, the ACV has made clear that it is prepared to file a legal complaint against the Belgian Government through the national court system.


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