Two of the countries big three trades unions are signing the social accord with the employers and the government, but this doesn't mean that they are accepting all aspects of government austerity not covered by the accord. Together with the socialist union that isn't signing the agreement the Christian and liberal unions are maintaining their opposition to the decoupling of the index that keeps benefits and wages in line with inflation. The government has decided a one-off measure that means that benefits and wages won't be topped up by 2% when prices rise by this amount.
The Christian and liberal unions are taking what is on offer from the employers, i.e.modifications to government austerity, but are joining the socialist union in opposition to the decoupling of the index and intend also to voice their concerns about some aspects of government plans to switch tax levels from labour to consumption and capital.
This time round there will be no general strike and no big demo. The unions are staging a gathering of shop stewards. It will take place in Brussels at an as yet unspecified location. The socialist union's Gina Heyrman: "Everybody is welcome."
How many union delegates are expected is unclear, but last time a similar gathering was organised thousands of Belgian shop stewards attended.