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Belgium – Union holds a rights day for temporaries

11 October 2012

A union in Belgium has held a number of campaigns on Wednesday to lobby for better working conditions affecting temporary workers, having crowned the 10 October the ‘Day of Temporary Workers’ Rights.’

The FGTB, a national trade union, has criticised the staffing industry in the country for allegedly contributing to job insecurity amongst temporary workers.

The union condemned, in particular, the use of one-day contracts. These can only be used if companies can prove there is a real need for flexible working arrangements.

“It is a scandal because they are really nineteenth century contracts where, every day, we hire people who we do not rehire… We have often said that temporary staffing is both too short and too long [by its nature],” said Paul Lootens of the union.

He said that the short-term nature of temporary contracts manifests itself in the use of one-day contracts. This is something he said was “impossible” to live with. On the other hand, he argued that temporary work goes on for “too long” before contingent workers can get hold of a permanent contract.

The FGBT also stressed that safety at the workplace remains a major concern. It said that the number of work-related accidents involving temporary workers was “alarmingly” high despite the fall seen in recent years.

Pay was also high on the agenda with the FGBT criticising that temporary workers often miss out on bonuses although they are entitled to them.

The FGBT hosted the ‘Day of Temporary Workers’ Rights’ for the eighth time, taking action across the country in public spaces. It also handed out tea to passers-by as a symbol to take breaks and reduce stress levels at work. 

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