Around a dozen workers have observed a stoppage of one hour between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Friday at the Centre Poincaré. They were protesting against the return of their Director, Pascale Peraïta. The staff were also expressing their worry for the future of the homeless suppport organisation. The FGTB union representative, Jean-Félix Moshi, said, “We are in a state of total uncertainty. We fear for the future of our jobs.”
Samusocial workers, supported by the trade union representatives, insisted upon the importance of this symbolic protest to attract attention to the current fate of Samusocial and its staff. Gaby, a trade union representative for FGTB, said “There has been confusion between the workers and the scandal which has shaken Samusocial. This situation is indeed very difficult because our work and its volume has not changed. We are social workers and numerous people need us.”
The staff present explained that only ten or so people took part in the action, owing to staff shortages. One female worker stressed, “The rest of the team must ensure the operation of a minimum service. We can only allow ourselves a one-hour work stoppage.”
Workers are denouncing their working conditions. They explain that since the outbreak of the affair numerous contracts have not been renewed. Gaby, named above, regrets, “This dates back to the scandal. We were working with double the staff numbers previously. With moral being damaged, some have taken sickness days. This has resulted in staff shortages, whilst the influx of service users in the centres has not changed.” With the new Board of Directors in place, staff hope to “get out of this unclear situation" and receive clear guidance before the “Plan Hiver” (winter plan) starts in mid-November.
The former Director of the association, Pascale Peraïta, did not return to Samusocial on Friday, contrary to what her lawyer had indicated earlier in the week. Through her lawyer, Ms Peraïta announced her intention to resume her role as Director of the association, a role from which she had taken unpaid leave in 2013, upon becoming President of CPAS at Brussels City Council. Negotiations have been in progress between her lawyer and the designated consultant appointed by the new Samusocial Board of Directors since his appointment last Tuesday.
The Brussels Times