Several firefighters have gathered in the centre of Brussels on Monday, in a spontaneous protest to denounce salary cuts, local police confirmed.
Some 250 members of the fire brigade are taking part in the demonstration, currently ongoing in Boulevard Emile Jacqmain, in the vicinity of Place Rogier.
The demonstrations aim to denounce a reduction in the wages of the fire services’ special brigades, who have reportedly seen their salaries slashed by the “sudden” suppression of bonus payments.
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“Special teams such as the mountaineer fire crew, the divers or the explosives teams have seen their bonuses suddenly slashed,” Eric Labourdette of the SLFP-VSOA union said. “What the government of Brussels is doing is very vicious and the firefighters can no longer accept it,” he added.
With union representatives set to meet with the fire department’s leadership on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Labourdette said that firefighters intended to carry out future demonstrations and to block roads with their firetrucks.
The demonstrations will reportedly continue into the afternoon, with the firemen expected to block several of Brussels’ main roads, such as the Boulevard Lambermont, from 15:00, according to La Dernière Heure.
“We were told we would be invited to negotiate new conditions in June, but that never happened,” Labourdette said. “Nobody wants to lose money — and certainly not because of these lies,” he added.
The Brussels Times