The strike organised by Belgian trade unions today is a very important statement against the austerity policies that are currently introduced in Belgium and across Europe, causing social injustice and deepening the economic crisis. The unions very clearly emphasise the problematic role of the EU which, as the ABVV-FGTB union states, "forces the member states into a blind austerity policy". The strike happens on the day where EU leaders meet for a two-day summit in Brussels to agree on a new EU treaty that will take further sweeping steps in imposing rigid budget discipline and austerity policies across the continent. Strikes like the one today and other forms of citizens' protests are exactly what is needed to save European welfare states and prevent the crisis from spiralling out of control.
ABVV-FGTB statement on the strike of 30 January
The financial crisis and the rescue of the banks has distorted public finances. The rating agencies and financial markets are still footloose and undermine democratic decision-making.
Europe does not provide an appropriate answer, but forces the member states into a blind austerity policy. The Belgian coalition government agreement that was made in this context is unbalanced: it affects mainly the workers and those depending on social benefits. Those responsible for the crisis remain unaffected. A real vision for a recovery through environmentally sustainable growth is lacking.
At our request, the social dialogue with the government and employers has started, but it's too slow and inadequate. Therefore we go on strike on January 30.
We mobilize everyone on January 30th for implementing our sustainable alternative proposals and to protest against blind cuts!