In Belgium, thousands of teachers and workers march against austerity


On Wednesday 6 November all Belgian teachers and educators affiliated to ETUCE member organisations ACOD-Onderwijs, Centrale Générale des Services Publics Enseignement, FGTB-CGSP; ACV-Openbare Diensten/CSC-Services publics, ACV-OD/ CSC-SP; Christelijke Onderwijscentrale, COC; Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens de l'Enseignement, CSC-Enseignement; Syndicat Libre de la Fonction Publique-Vrij Syndicaat; together with all the other sectors and professions, demonstrated in Brussels to defend their working conditions, welfare state and purchasing power against austerity and the Belgian government's attacks.

At the core of the teachers', educators' and all workers' protests is the proposed labour market reform, which entails the raise of retirement age, cuts in salaries and in public services. The newly installed government of Belgium has recently proposed a plan to cut the country's welfare system, while increasing subsidies and tax cuts to locally established multinationals as well as big capitals.

Drawn-out effects of the crisis still persist; employment and growth are still lagging behind. Despite these facts, and in line with the neo-liberal ideological threat, wealth is being concentrated in the hands of few private citizens, while welfare states and public spending to the benefits of all are under serious threats.

Together with their confederations, teacher unions initiated at long series of actions to combat the government plan. After the national demonstration, the action rallying will develop with a strike of the education sector on 15 November and a general strike on 06 December.

ETUCE stands in support of Belgian unions and all teachers in Belgium and in Europe, still affected by the harsh effects of the economic crisis. ETUCE shares in solidarity the demand to respect the teaching profession, which is far from being privileged in Belgium and in many European countries. The teaching profession is devoted primarily to society and to people, to grant all students well-deserved quality teaching and learning, and to put all young people on a path towards democratic participation in society.