04 October 2009
Throughout the month of June 2009 and in recent months, milk producers in Belgium have organised several strike actions. The initiative included the blockading of supermarket depots, which in some cases prevented customers from accessing shops. In addition, roads and motorways were blocked in order to prevent lorries from delivering their goods. The strike action is attributed to the very low price of milk, which is being sold at a price that is two times lower than production costs, therefore forcing farmers to sell at a loss. This situation is deemed unacceptable and unbearable by the farmers, who insist that the deregulation policy of the European Union and the big supermarket chains are putting severe pressure on prices.
30 August 2009
On 7 June 2009, in parallel with the European Parliament  elections, regional and community elections were held to elect new government representatives within the three regional entities of Belgium – Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia – and in the three linguistic communities – the Flemish, French-speaking and German-speaking communities. Following the elections, new governments were formed in Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia at the beginning of July 2009. The elections were held in the context of the economic crisis which led the voters to have high expectations for the new governments. The election results showed marked differences between the south and the north of the country.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary/european-parliament
04 August 2009
According to a study (in French, 4.5Mb PDF)  conducted by the University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles, ULB ), the wage gap among Belgian employees is increasing. The study shows that the share of wages as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) has been decreasing since the 1980s and currently stands at under 50%. Thus, employees only benefit from half of the wealth produced in the country. Furthermore, the system tends to become more unequal. Between 1999 and 2006, the highest salaries increased more rapidly than the lowest ones. For example, the highest salaries grew by 23%, while the second highest recorded an increase of 21%. The wage gap between high and lower wage earners then increased rapidly at a rate of 35.5% in 2006.  http://dev.ulb.ac.be/dulbea/documents/1235.pdf  http://www.ulb.ac.be/
27 July 2009
Between 14 and 16 May 2009, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC ) organised a series of Euro-demonstrations in four European capitals: 150,000 people gathered in Madrid, 100,000 in Berlin, 30,000 in Prague and 50,000 in Brussels calling for a more social Europe (*EU0906029I* ).  http://www.etuc.org  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/europes-trade-unions-respond-to-crisis
31 May 2009
Wallonia, the French and German-speaking region in the south of Belgium, has been experiencing a relatively low economic performance for many decades, along with a higher unemployment rate. In 2005, Wallonia’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita amounted to 87.5% of the European average; in the same year, its unemployment rate stood at 11.9%. Flanders, meanwhile, has fared considerably better in comparison, recording a GDP per capita of 120.1% of the European average and a significantly lower unemployment rate of 5.5%.
10 May 2009
Since 2006, trade unions in Belgium have been organising a number of events during the month of March to highlight the gender pay gap and women’s working conditions in general. The events coincide with the International Women’s Day  on 8 March and are organised by the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens/Algemeen Christelijk Vakverbond, CSC /ACV ) and the Belgian General Federation of Labour (Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique/Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond, FGTB/ABVV ) (*BE0803019I* ).  http://www.internationalwomensday.com/  http://www.csc-en-ligne.be/  http://www.acv-online.be/  http://www.abvv.be/  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/unions-organise-equal-pay-day-to-highlight-gender-inequalities-in-labour-market
29 April 2009
As a result of the significant decline in demand for cars in Europe, car manufacturers have had to adapt their production, resulting in severe consequences for employment. For instance, the US car manufacturerGeneral Motors (GM) announced the suspension of night shifts at its manufacturing plant in Antwerp, Flanders at the end of 2008. Between 300 and 400 workers were affected by this measure and have been made temporarily unemployed. Despite these cost saving measures, along with increased efforts by European governments and the workforce to save GM’s European brands, Opel and Vauxhall, their future remains unsure to date.
01 April 2009
In late November 2006, the management of the automotive manufacturer Volkswagen AG (VW ) announced that its Forest plant near Brussels would cease production of the VW Golf model, relocating production of the model to the company’s two German plants, Mosel and Wolfsburg (see European Restructuring Monitor (ERM ) factsheet ). Apart from the Golf model, the Forest plant also assembled the Polo model but in smaller quantities. Of the 5,400 people employed at the Forest plant, only 1,000 workers were involved in the production of the Polo. About 4,000 jobs were cut at the plant, corresponding to almost three quarters of the workforce. This decision by the company management came as a complete shock to workers at the Forest plant as they were not expecting such a restructuring process to take place (*BE0701049I* ).  http://www.volkswagen.com/vwcms/international_portal/virtualmaster/en.html  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/emcc/erm/index  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/emcc/erm/factsheets/volkswagen-5  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/job-losses-and-restructuring-at-volkswagen-plant
23 March 2009
The global economic crisis led to negative results for the Belgian economy in the last quarter of 2008. Moreover, the Belgian Central Bank (Banque Nationale de Belgique/Nationale Bank van België, BNB/NBB ) expects worse results for 2009. Between December 2008 and December 2009, a slowdown of 1.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) is expected, as well as an increase in the unemployment rate from 7.1% to 7.8%. The Central Bank forecasts a loss of 58,000 jobs in 2009.  http://www.nbb.be/
05 March 2009
European sectoral social dialogue has its roots in the creation of the European Union. Over the last decade, there have been numerous changes to its institutional foundations, structures and scope. This report gives an overview of the current state of play regarding European sectoral social dialogue. It focuses on three main aspects: recent developments and outcomes, the interactions between parties either directly or indirectly involved in this dialogue, and the implementation and impact of the social dialogue texts in EU Member States.