On Sunday, the Ecologist party revealed just one person in two of working age in Belgium was able to celebrate May Day. The others are unemployed, have a sometimes precarious job with unsustainable hours, no advancement perspectives or earn a salary that “barely lets them survive”.
“Our successive governments, whether left or right, have torn apart salary conditions and social rights in Belgium”, Zakia Khattabi and Patrick Dupriez, the co-presidents of Ecolo, said in a press release on Sunday. “Behind big declarations by the PS and MR is an undeniable reality: the number of unemployed, even reduced by the 30,000 excluded for 2015, has gone up by nearly 9%. Thirty percent of workers are part-time by force, and 7% of workers are absent due to illness. No society can tolerate this much social suffering”, they said.
Instead of workers, we need to attack unemployment, according to Ecolo. They think that sharing work and hours would “significantly” reduce unemployment.
“Everywhere in Europe, governments are saying that growth will help create employment, and it could be made better through flexibility in the job market. This is false. The International Work Organisation recently concluded, like other institutions elsewhere, that there is no link between the level of protection for salaried employees and the unemployment rate. In other words, flexibility with the aim of creating jobs is inefficient”, say the Ecolo co-presidents.