Belgian workers lost 0.94% of their purchasing power in 2016. This is according to the General Confederation of Liberal Trade Unions of Belgium (CGSLB) based upon the study “Benchmarking Working Europe 2017.” Per the Liberal trade union, Belgium is the only European country where, last year, workers were able to buy less with their pay.
Purchasing power increased amongst our European neighbours. In France, the increase was limited to 0.25%, in Luxembourg it reached 0.42%, whilst German and Dutch wage and salary earners saw their purchasing power improve respectively by 1.61% and 2.28%.
The CGSLB considers, “The various governments took a series of measures leading to a significant increase in prices. The increase in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) decided by the Michel government prevented the increase in wages and salaries adapting to the cost of living.”
The organisation goes on, “This thus impinged very significantly upon purchasing power in general. This is just one of the factors which explains why, in 2016, Belgium was at the bottom of EU rankings as regards economic growth. This occurred because private consumption, in real terms, increased in a somewhat restricted way. Moreover, the CPI increase is a very negative measure, the effects of which will last a lifetime.”
Mario Coppens, National President of the CGSLB, flagged up, “The restricted wage cushion of 1.1% excluding the CPI, agreed as part of the inter-professional agreement (AIP), has arrived just in time. This also stresses the actual significance of wage and salary increases in relation to purchasing power, as a lever for economic growth.”