The sector suffers from “unfair competition” and feels “ignored” by the government. “Without a competitiveness boost, 26,000 more jobs will be lost by 2020,” warned Confédération Construction Tuesday at the presentation of its 2015-2016 situation analysis.
Construction activity registered growth of 2.1% in 2015, but is expected to go down to 1% in 2016. Increases are expected in the construction of new non-residential buildings (+6%), civil engineering (+2.5%) and building renovation (+1.5 to 2%), but a considerable reduction is predicted for the construction of new residences (-7.5%).
The favourable performance of 2015 was largely due to the weather, with climatic conditions not having attenuated activities to a great extent, explained the Confederation. “The analyses of different segments indicate however that the sector lacks dynamics for clear and robust growth,” highlighted Appointed Manager Robert de Mûelenaere.
The construction sector once again regrets the consequences for its companies of worker posting and of dumping. “The number of posted workers in Belgium is 3.6% of private employment, versus 1.4% in France and 1% in Germany. Over 100,000 workers of the 160,000 posted in Belgium are active in construction,” and the situation is expanding, causing the loss of markets for companies, and of jobs, the Confederation fears. The situation should lead the government to making immediate decisions. “The solution is firstly political and national,” considers the Federation, which demands a reduction in salary costs of 6 euros per hour.