Well-being envelope: Dermagne wants to decide quickly

The government must position itself on the follow-up to be given to the blockage around the well-being envelope: decide quickly or try to relaunch social consultation?

Failure. Maybe not matte yet. Consequent with what they had repeated on several occasions, the unions, communicating in common front, recorded this Thursday the impossibility of agreeing with the employers’ bench on a proposal for a concerted distribution of the welfare envelope. (The Echo of this Thursday)

As provided for by law, the file therefore returned to the table of the federal government, which two options: decide quickly or try to convince the social interlocutors to speak again.

Dermagne wants to decide…

The first option is defended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Labor Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS). According to the position of the unions, the latter believes that we must take note of the failure of social consultation and that the government must move forward. We are talking here aboutan annual budget of nearly one billion euros to increase social benefits and pensions in 2023 and 2024.

“It is not up to the government to take the place of consultation. It is up to the social partners to decide.”

A source familiar with the matter

The socialist minister indicates that he will table, with the other supervisory ministers Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) and Karine Lalieux (PS), a proposal for the distribution of the envelope on the government table from the beginning of next week.

… others will want to temporize

But it is not certain that all the Vivaldi parties will give the green light and agree to act immediately on the failure of the consultation. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo made a commitment to the social partners to respect the government agreement and to allocate the entire planned budget. The employer’s request for a partial allowance (60%) will therefore not be followed.

Another request could create heated debates within the government: should we act quickly, as demanded by the unions? Or delay, as the employers’ representatives consider necessary? “It is not up to the government to take the place of consultation. It is up to the social partners to decide”we heard from a good source.

In other words: there will be debate on the will – the utility – to send the file to the social interlocutors. This seems to be the Prime Minister’s option, notably. As we have said, the bosses are demanding. Because this would allow them to bring the negotiation on the revaluation of the incomes of inactive people closer to the discussion around wages (AIP), which must take place at the beginning of 2023.

The mobilization planned by the union common front on September 21 could greatly exceed what its organizers had planned.

The Director-General of the FEB, Monica DeJonghewas skeptical about the possibility of finding an agreement within the government because, according to her, “the antagonism between employers and unions was going to reproduce itself there.”

The unions expect a strong mobilization

The case is politically sensitive. Bills are rising. Social tension is growing. Witness the mobilization planned by the union common front on September 21, Place de la Monnaie in Brussels. It could greatly exceed what its organizers had planned, the demand being pressingwe hear.

In addition to the static gathering initially planned, a procession will be added which will go under the windows of the FEB headquarters. A rise in rank in the actions which was not unanimous among the union representatives, some advocating restraint while others believe that it is necessary to go harder. The same debate lives on concerning the “threat” of a strike on November 9th.

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