MORE than 50,000 trade unionists marched through the centre of Brussels yesterday to protest against the right-wing government’s social and economic policies, which are cutting deep into the foundations of Belgium’s welfare state.
Under the slogan “Our cup runneth over,” all the main unions joined in the march, united in their opposition to moves to reduce workers’ pay, defer pension entitlement and replace the 38-hour working week with 45 hours.
The unions say that Liberal Prime Minister Charles Michel’s imposition of free-market policies over the past two years are costing an average family some €100 (£80) a month, while the promise of many extra jobs remains elusive.
They are demanding that the government tackle the growing problem of tax evasion by big business and the rich.
Yesterday’s protest was a dress rehearsal for a mass public-services rally and rail strike on May 31, as well as general strikes on June 24, September 29 and October 7.