General strike seems likely for the end of June

The workers' division of the socialist trades union ABVV (the Algemene Centrale) wants to stage a general strike at the end of June. Other divisions of the ABVV are expected to follow in the coming days, De Morgen reports. President Werner Van Heetvelde argues that "the people have had it with the government's policies. (...) We want to show we are serious about this."

A major demonstration has been scheduled for the end of May (there are talks of Monday 23 May, but this has not been confirmed yet, red.). However, if the government does not make any concessions, this will be followed by a national strike.

"We want to give the signal that we are serious. It's been a year and a half now that the government has been taking one measure after another - always at the expense of the workers. This time, it's the 2017 budget that is looming, with an expected 3 billion euros of cuts in social security. We are fed up."

The strike could take place after the school exams, but before the start of the summer holidays, to spare students going to their exams or holiday makers travelling abroad, as the national strike is bound to affect rail and airport services.

The Algemene Centrale represents 400,000 workers and 50 different sectors, such as the building industry, the chemical sector and the social profit sector, among others. It is normally the most moderate division within the trades union.