The N-VA supports the wage agreement and requests that the job deal be carried out

5 April 2019

“With this, we are taking an important step in increasing people’s purchasing power.” The N-VA explains why it is giving its support to the wage agreement. Our party is however also requesting that the job deal be honoured, as agreed under the Michel I government. “The so-called ‘Swedish coalition’ had said that it intended to work towards an increase in the early retirement age and a faster decrease in the unemployment benefit over time. But in the wage agreement, this intention is now being completely ignored. In addition, we asked for a larger portion of the Prosperity envelope A “piggy bank” that serves to keep the lowest benefits, and especially pensions, and the replacement incomes inflation-proof. prosperity envelope to be put into increasing the lowest pensions, and not into unemployment benefit,” says the N-VA. However, the other parties voted against the N-VA’s proposals to modify the legal texts.

Increase of purchasing power

As fast as it could, the caretaker government put the inter-professional agreement ( IPA An Interprofessional Agreement (IPA) is a cross-sectoral agreement between Belgian employers and trade unions. The most important part concerns the agreement on salaries. In Belgium, standard salary levels must be ratified by the Government. IPA ) on the agenda of the Parliamentary Social Affairs Committee. The N-VA gave its support to the wage increase in the IPA. It is a good thing that a wage increase of 1.1% over and above the index is being made possible. Thanks to the policy of the Michel I government, enough room for manoeuvre has been created to increase citizens’ purchasing power and to strengthen the competitive position of our companies. The N-VA also supports the full 100% use of the prosperity envelope to increase the lowest social benefits, in total some 700 million euros in 2020.

Carrying out the job deal

The N-VA does however request that the job deal be carried out in full, as it was agreed in the Michel I government. It was agreed to focus on getting unemployed people back into the labour force and on an increase of the lowest pensions. In this way the government would work on increasing the early retirement age from 58 to 60, and a faster decrease in the unemployment benefit over time. But nothing more of these agreements is coming now. In the draft texts of the prosperity envelope, a large portion of the resources intended for the increase in pensions is even being used to increase the benefits for the very long-term unemployed further.

“Swedish” legacy

During the discussions in the Social Affairs Committee regarding the bill to carry out the wage agreement, the N-VA therefore introduced several amendments to add the agreed measures of the job deal to the bill. However, these amendments were voted down by all other parties. “It is regrettable that the remaining parties of this minority government apparently no longer attach very much importance at all to the ‘Swedish’ legacy,” the party concludes.

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