Agreement reached on salaries

The Federal Government has approved the inter-professional salary agreement for the next two years. The agreement on rules that govern the amount wages can be increased over the next two years also includes measures that will prolong the system of pre-pension for another two years.

The unions and employers' federations had already approved the accord.

The agreement states that wages can rise up to 1.1% above the rate of inflation. The lowest benefits are also to be increased. The age at which people can take pre-pension will also be raised, but less quickly than the government had originally wanted.

The Flemish nationalists had their reservation, but figures from Federal Employment Service RVA show that the measures could be financially beneficial for the government.

The unions’ rank and file had given the agreement the green light on Tuesday. This only left the Federal Government to give it the thumbs up, something it did without amendments on Thursday morning.

The Flemish Christian democrat Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters told VRT News that "I have a number of arguments to say that this is an historic agreement. It offers the opportunity to negotiate per sector. As far as I am concerned the content of the agreement is defendable”.

Mr Peeters’ Flemish liberal counterpart Alexander De Croo says believes that the accord is equitable.