"Work out a plan for more jobs in the future"

The new federal Employment Minister, Kris Peeters, is reaching out to the trades unions and social partners. He says that the government should work out a plan for the future to make sure that the benefits that private companies will be enjoying under the centre-right government, will also result in more jobs.

The new centre-right federal government (some speak of the right-wing government) has worked out a spate of measures to give companies more breathing space in harsh economic times. This sparked anger with trades unions and social welfare organisations, who claim that the average, hard-working citizens are paying the bill as they are the biggest victims of the new austerity measures.

One of the decisions the new government has taken, is to skip one automatic indexation of the wages. In Belgium, wages are linked to the cost of living. If life becomes more expensive, wages automatically go up due to the system of wage indexation.

Companies will be allowed to skip the next one. They will save money as a result, which will strengthen their position compared to neighbouring countries. But will this measure actually yield more jobs? In an effort to counter criticism from trades unions, Mr Peeters (CD&V) has proposed to "work out a plan for the future that allows the one-off skipping of the index hike to be converted in the highest possible number of jobs", he told the current affairs programme on Sunday 'De zevende dag'. 

"We need a major social-economic plan which will guarantee a maximum job yield. I repeat I want to start a dialogue with the social partners about this." Mr Peeters added that he believes that employers "will have the common sense to use the index benefit to create extra jobs."