Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) defended the wage agreement on which his government reached agreement earlier this week against criticism from the opposition. He accused the communists of PVDA of further fueling the class struggle. And he told N-VA that 200,000 jobs have been added since the start of the government. Watch his shots in the video below:

    As is well known, the Central Trade Council advised not to allow any margin for wage increases for the next two years, in order to keep the wage handicap with neighboring countries under control.

    The government follows that advice, but allows companies that farm well to award a premium of up to 750 euros. In addition, part of the welfare envelope will go to higher minimum wages.

    “The European Commission is asking us to take measures to reduce the unemployment trap. A week later, we made a decision to that effect,” said the prime minister.

    Opposition parties PVDA and N-VA are not impressed by the agreement. PVDA chairman Raoul Hedebouw spoke scornfully about a “chequeske” for 750 euros, while MP Björn Anseeuw (N-VA) accused the prime minister of “disguising the people”. He reiterated his criticism that the government is not taking any measures to encourage work.

    The prime minister accused Hedebouw of only adding fuel to the fire. “You are still entrenched in a class struggle. You even stir it up. Our welfare model is based on a consultation model. You are looking for a conflict model,” it read.

    Speaking to Anseeuw, the Prime Minister noted that the government is implementing the Wage Act as reformed by the previous government. “Since the start of the government’s term of office, 200,000 jobs have been created, in a period of crisis. I dare to come out with that policy.”

    The Prime Minister bases this on figures from the National Bank. According to Anseeuw, however, this is not true. He talked about 18,000 extra jobs, but based on figures from the National Social Security Office and since the start of the legislature.

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