Four in five Flemish companies surveyed by Voka (the Flemish federation of businesses) appear unwilling to grant a one-time bonus to help employees through the current of cost of living crisis. This is on the grounds that a bonus would further reduce their competitiveness compared to foreign firms.
At the end of last month, the Flemish Government encouraged businesses to grant bonuses as a way of preventing conflict between unionised employees and businesses over wages in the current cost of living crisis.
While deciding to keep the present salary indexation in place, the government asked businesses that had made a profit to grant their employees a one-time bonus.
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Yet many Flemish businesses are reluctant to offer the set sum of between €500 and €750; more than 80% of the 500 businesses polled by Voka oppose the bonus plan.
For Voka chief Hans Maertens, "this will hit the competitiveness of our companies, which is already under pressure" (referring to Belgium's growing wage handicap compared to foreign companies). As a result, Maertens is calling for salary rises to be stabilised "with an index jump" which would see salaries being indexed once next year instead of twice.