The president of the FGTB recognizes for Trends Tendances that companies are suffering. But he predicts a warm fall. And stresses that to get out of the crises, we need tax reform and social agreements.
Thierry Bodson, president of the FGTB, confides to Trends Tendances that the start of the school year could be hot, while a first mobilization takes place this Wednesday.
Thierry Bodson, president of the FGTB, confides to Trends Tendances that the return to school could be hot, while a first mobilization takes place this Wednesday. Do you fear this return to economic level? Jen-François Tamellini, regional secretary of the FGTB Walloon, spoke of a climate close to the insurrection. That’s what we feel, indeed. But we should not imagine that we live on another planet and that we are not aware of the difficulties encountered by companies. No companies, no work. How do you think this should be answered? There is a difference between the current crisis and the Covid crisis, which must be taken into account in the solutions to be provided. This time, there are companies and sectors that are doing badly, but also sectors that are doing well – even well to die. Ideally, we could have agreed between social partners on the criteria for helping companies. I regret that this was not possible. We were received separately by the government, employers and unions. His message was that he was counting on us to agree on a certain number of measures – and if that had been the case, he would have approved them without too much difficulty. But the employers’ organizations came with the desire to negotiate a five-point plan: a downward revision of the well-being envelope, wage formation, i.e. a reform of indexation, a reform labor market, focal reform and energy measures. We can understand that everything is in everything. But that would have required locking ourselves away for two months in a castle and we would have looked like Martians. The result is that the government took over? purely budgetary equation. This bodes well for a complicated end to the year and the situation could be explosive. It is never good that social consultation is seized up and we also felt betrayed by the discussion on the well-funded envelope. In a difficult social context, this consultation would make sense. Moreover, we have the feeling that the solutions proposed both at Belgian and European level are and will be insufficient. September 26, but the other unions have joined us and it will turn into a demonstration. A general strike is inevitable on November 7. But there are already calls for rallies on the sidelines of that. That’s often how that begin. People are angry and at the same time they are “brave” because they continue to look for ways to pay their bills. I pleaded for a boycott of the payment of the energy bill. I had answered “no”, but it will not be necessary: very soon, there will be many citizens who will simply no longer be able to pay it. Should we review the automatic wage indexation mechanism, as requested by employers? Today, we are in a situation where the big problem is energy. It is not by attacking the mechanism of indexing that we are going to solve this. Energy is too expensive, we must tackle the sources of the problem and not its consequence. Do companies have difficulty paying for energy and wages? I say: yes! But there are solutions to get through this difficult period, such as the deferral of social security charges, it’s 25%, where the indexation will be 8 or 9%. For the rest, when you look at the history of the last century, you will see that all the crises were overcome by tax reform and social agreements. We can maybe do it in six months. But the priority agenda for the moment is to find solutions to overcome this.