Crane occupation ended after builders are promised payment

Builders that had been occupying a crane in Hove (Antwerp province) since Friday morning have come down after a solution was found for the payments of several months’ salary arears.  

The workers started their occupation of the crane at around 7:30 on Friday morning. The men that had come to work here from Morocco and Egypt were angry about the late payment of their salaries.

In some cases the salary arrears was as much as several months’ worth of wages. Negotiators from the Federal Police Service went to the scene on Friday afternoon, but were unable to persuade the men to come down.     

Late on Friday evening the 7 builders decided to come down from the crane.  

Police Spokesman Dirk Fonteyne told VRT News that "A number of mediators came including some from the unions. They succeeded in getting the men to come down without incident”.

Mr Fonteyne added that "The men appeared very determined to remain in the crane, but eventually the agreed to come down”.

Solution for payment problems

The men work for an Italian company that in turned worked for a subcontractor at the building site. The Christian trade union ACV claims that it was this that had caused the issues with payment.  

"The Italian company had not been paid correctly by another sub-contractor and was unable to pay its workers” ACV Construction’s Ronny Mattysen told VRT News.  .

"In the meantime it has been agreed that the Belgian construction company in charge of the site will pay the Italian company directly and no longer via the sub-contractor”, Mr Mattysen added.

The 7 builders have been given shelter by the Red Cross in nearby Lint while the unions look for accomodation for them.