Flanders to reform status of civil servants
After two days of strikes, the Flemish minister for Public Administration and the public service union ACV have reached an agreement on reform of the status of civil servants.
On Monday, unions largely blocked shipping traffic to and from Flemish ports with actions at several locks. The strikes were triggered by dissatisfaction with negotiations on the new status of Flemish government employees.
On Wednesday morning, Flemish minister for Public Administration Gwendolyn Rutten and ACV, the largest public sector union, reached an agreement.
Although not all unions support the deal, with ACV's backing the regional government will be able to push through its long-held reform plans. "The general rule is that new civil servants in the Flemish government will no longer be permanently appointed by default," Rutten's office said.
The reform will phase out the permanent appointment of Flemish government employees. Existing staff will retain their status and a new statutory appointment will still be possible for certain posts of authority.
"I would like to thank the trade unions and all employees for their constructive and intensive cooperation. The will to reform was there, even under difficult circumstances," said Rutte. "With this agreement, ACV will end its strike and the government can continue to implement a historic reform."
Flemish minister president Jan Jambon called it a historic agreement and invited the other two unions to join it. The ACOD and VSOA unions said on Wednesday that they disagreed with the reform and would continue their actions at the locks.
#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister for Public Administration Gwendolyn Rutten © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK