No progress in talks, police promise more protest actions

Talks between Belgian interior minister Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat) and the police unions have been concluded for this week and will only resume next week.  The unions are pressing a pay claim and speak of a ‘fiasco’ and their ‘disappointment’.  Unions have been staging disruptive police checks for several weeks now and intend to continue their protests.  They are seeking better pay and more staff.

Police actions have included work to rules at airports and checks on drivers and vehicles on motorway slip roads and elsewhere. The extra checks triggered considerable disruption.

Trade unionist Medo says the minister asked the unions to return to the negotiating table next week, but “what we heard today was not sufficient to get us to stop our protest actions”.

“Further work to rules are possible.  Police officers have had it.  They’re angry.  They seek solutions.  Nothing has been done for twenty years.  We’ve been talking for six months.  We were offered another empty box.  Nobody would take that!”

Ms Verlinden’s office says the various parties received an opportunity to share ideas. “Minister Verlinden will again set to work with these ideas and with her federal government partners will look for a solution to improve police officers’ statutes and support the local authorities that employ 35,000 of the country’s 48,000 police officers”.

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