Around 10,000 civil servants took to the streets of Brussels on Thursday, to rally against the Belgian government’s policy of natural attrition.
The measure put forward by Secretary of State Hendrik Bogaert means that the civil servant workforce is reduced by not replacing people when they retire.
Peter Veltmans from the public service union ACOD said: “What they are doing is, they let people go on a pension and they don’t take new people. So we have a diminishing workforce, and then they say, yes, but that’s no problem because we have information technology and that will solve all the problems.”
The demonstrators also complained that bonuses will end from January next year.
Some of the civil servants complained that the planned measures could cost them 2,000 to 3,000 euros gross per year.
“Today’s demonstration aims to give clear signal to Secretary of State Bogaert – to tell him that civil servants have rights. There must be negotiations with the unions when he wants to change the working conditions. Bogaert strips the unions and he strips the workers,” said SLFP union leader Gilles van Osthuijze.
Hendrik Bogaert has responded to these criticisms by saying that the reforms are needed.