The trade unions and the staff of the Flemish public broadcaster VRT will protest on the Place des Martyrs, in front of Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon’s offices, on 5 December.
The coalition agreement of the Flemish government wanted to cut €12 million from the VRT’s budget, but according to the VRT management’s own calculations, the cut will amount to about €40 million as a result of all kinds of additional measures.
According to the union, saving that much money can only be achieved with drastic scenarios, like scrapping certain channels. “Or why not: the entire news service. That would fit right in with Jambon’s ideology,” Graus said, reports De Morgen. “The authors of the draft note for this government had already made it clear. Jambon and De Wever want to use public broadcasting as a propaganda channel. Propaganda for their nationalistic ideology,” she added.
The trade unions at VRT do not want to accept these “Orbán-esque situations,” they said, referring to Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, a country that has shifted towards authoritarianism under his rule.
The Flemish government is planning “not a slimming down, but a slaughter,” according to Michelle Graus, the chairman of the VRT’s socialist union to VRT NWS.
“Not only the public broadcaster is threatened, but democracy and our society as well,” said Graus. “We invite all friends of the VRT to join us at Place des Martyrs and show Jambon and his buddies that they are not negotiating with one CEO, but with 2,000 employees – and by extension with the entire Belgian population,” she added.
The strike is scheduled to take place at 4:00 PM on 5 December, as a Media Commission is taking place on that same day, reports De Standaard.
The Brussels Times