Employers need to be fully aware of the significance of last week’s countrywide national strike in order to prevent further action. This warning comes from the workers’ union the FGTB (Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique), as wage negotiations with workers’ representatives are set to resume on Monday.
“Employers must understand that something key happened on 13 February. Not an insignificant event,” said Robert Vertenueil, the President of the Socialist trade union. He was setting out the organisation’s memorandum, in view of this May’s elections.
The union will see what it can achieve and what emerges from the talks, said the FGTB President. Afterwards, the union will set out the results to its affected members. “However, if precisely the same outcomes emerge from the discussions we should not be surprised,” he warns. There is then a real risk of further protests both on the streets and outside businesses where employees are directly affected, suggests Vertenueil.
The Socialist Union’s bodies will meet as early as Tuesday morning to take stock of the negotiations and decide what action to take. A federal committee already met on Tuesday (19th Feb). Its leader has received the support of the entire movement to inform employers of the willingness to conclude wage negotiations on 25 February, which should be taken “seriously”.
Socialist activists are ready for a repeat of the 13 February strike and to bring the country to a standstill again. “Indeed for several days if necessary,” said Vertenueil, firmly denying that he was “brandishing a threat ahead of the forthcoming negotiations.”