Belgian non-commercial sector marches through Brussels on Tuesday

For the second time this year, the non-commercial sector is demonstrating in Brussels. Unions are expecting between 10,000 and 20,000 demonstrators on Tuesday to demand, among other things, swift action to tackle staff shortages and waiting lists in the sector.

The sector, which includes hospitals, residential care, home care, and child and youth care, is calling for more staff, better pay and working conditions, more attention to workers' welfare and workload, and an end to patient waiting lists. It is the second national demonstration this year, following an earlier action in January when around 18,000 demonstrators took to the streets. However, the action has so far been unsuccessful.

While the responsible ministers were sympathetic at the beginning of the year, they also made it clear that there was no willingness to release funds until after the elections in mid-2024. "But we cannot wait until then," said Olivier Remy, general coordinator of Christian trade union ACV Puls. "We are asking the various governments to take additional measures in the short term. After the elections, we need to work on a plan for the future."

Both the federal and regional non-commercial sectors will take to the streets on Tuesday. The demonstration will start around 10.30 at North station in Brussels and move to Midi.


CSC/ACV union demonstrators at a protest action by trade unions in Brussels, January 2023 © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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