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Proximus unions to meet with the Federal PM on Monday

The Federal Prime Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) will meet with the unions that represent those employed by the partly state-owned telecom operator Proximus on Monday afternoon. 1,900 jobs are under threat at Proximus. Both the unions and the caretaker Federal Government want to avert forced redundancies. 

At Mondays meeting the situation will be assessed. “I presume that the talks will lead to an improvement in the restructuring plan”, the Federal Employment Minister Kris Peeters (Flemish Christian democrat) told VRT News.

Earlier this week Proximus announced a restructuring plan in which 1,900 jobs are threatened, some of these job losses will result in compulsory redundancies.  Mr Peeters hopes compulsory redundancies can be averted by constructive talks between the management, the unions within the companies. The unions are saying the same, although they have issued a strike notice they also want to give negotiations a chance.    

“Of course negotiations are a priority in finding a solution that will prevent compulsory redundancies from becoming a reality”, a spokesperson from Christian trades union told VRT News.    

Mr Peeters warns that the negotiations won’t be easy. "Everyone has understood that this case is highly complex at a number of levels”.

One issue is that some of those working for Proximus still have civil service contracts. This is a throwback to the time that the company was 100% state-owned

Currently, the Belgian state owns 53% of the shares in Proximus.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs"

On Wednesday the CEO of Proximus Dominique Leroy was given a carpeting by the Federal Prime Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal). Mr Michel was not amused as the plan had not been discussed with the Federal Government before it appeared in the press. Mr Michel has based has used “jobs, jobs, jobs” as his slogan throughout the legislature. It wouldn’t look good if so many jobs were to be lost in the run-up to the elections in May.     

In addition to the 1,900 posts that are be scrapped, Proximus also intends to create 1,250 posts in positions that will help it further on the road to digitalisation.