Up to 1% real term pay rise over 2017-18

Over the next two years Belgian wages will only be allowed to rise by 1% at most. The scope for a wage rise has been calculated by the central council for business that includes representative from both sides of industry.

Unions and employers will now have to examine the scope for actual wage increases within this 1% margin.

The calculations take account of wage rises in neighbouring countries, but over the twenty years that the calculations take into account wages in neighbouring countries and in Belgium rose at the same pace meaning this element will have little impact during the next two years.

In addition to index-related wage increases the scope for real term increases is between 0.9% and 1.2%. Belgium's social partners now have the task of deciding which pay increases can be granted within this 1% margin. Trade unions hope to secure a 'substantial' rise given the wage restraint and index decoupling of recent years. Employers warn of the danger of wage costs going off the rails as this would have a negative impact on job creation.