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The Belgian army takes to the streets

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By Catherine Hardy  with Sputnik
The Belgian army takes to the streets

The Belgian army has taken to the streets of Brussels.

Military personnel demonstrated against sweeping plans to change their employment conditions.

The seven-year hitch

On October 15, the Belgian government decided to increase the retirement age of military personnel from 56 to 63 years from the start of 2017, an increase of seven years.

They also introduced new career conditions, including setting up a requirement of a minimum number of years’ service before qualifying for a pension.

The king’s birthday

The march comes on Belgium’s “King’s Day”, the day of the monarch’s birthday.

Under the constitution, Belgian military staff are forbidden to go on strike.

However, they can take part in demonstrations during holidays.

Personnel under pressure

In April, the Belgian authorities declared a third level of terrorist threat.

They also increased the number of military personnel providing security in the country.

What effect is this having?

According to representatives, the number of resignations and divorces in the families of military personnel has soared due to the heavy workload.

Representatives of the rank-and-file are due to meet with the Defence Minister Steven Vandeput.