Employers and unions call on the Flemish Government to “give a strong signal to get the economy going again”.

The Social and Economic Council of Flanders (SERV) has called on the Flemish Government to take decisive action to relaunch the economy in our region. The council that is made up of employers’ federations and the trade unions issued its call two weeks ahead of the Flemish Government’s September Declaration. In the September declaration, the Flemish Government outlines it priorities and plans for the coming year. 

SERV’s call came in an open letter that was published on Tuesday. The employers and unions say that it is essential that the September Declaration concentrates on measures to help our economy recover from the coronavirus crisis.  

In its open letter SERV writes that “all social and economic indicators are in the red”. The Council adds that a large number of companies are on the edge of bankruptcy, consumer confidence is low and many people risk being plunged into poverty.

SERV says that it is high time for policy makers to come up with answers and the September Declaration is the perfect opportunity to do this.  The employers and the trade unions want a “strong signal” as to how we are going to recover from the economic damage inflicted by COVID-19. 

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Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’, SERV’s Chairman Danny Van Assche made a number of suggestions. 

"A restoration of confidence is needed to ensure that the economy starts running again”, Mr Van Assche said. He pointed to the labour market “It is of great importance that people that have been laid off become active again. The Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Service (VDAB) needs to react quickly to prevent people becoming long-term unemployed”. 

Mr Van Assche also believes that the Flemish Government needs to invest “In transport, energy, public buildings, health, infrastructure, .... These are all things that are necessary to ensure that the economy is in good shape”. 

He accepts that this will cost money “This situation shouldn’t be allowed to persist. By the end of this legislature the budget should be balanced again. We can best already map out how this can be achieved”. 

"In the September Declaration, the Flemish Government should show clearly that it is the leading force in Flanders when it comes to addressing the economic crisis. The social partners (unions and employers) absolutely want to be a partner in this and reach an agreement with the government to facilitate and implement an economy recovery”. 

 

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