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Let it be a year of life, of wonder and of hope (free from coronavirus) May the coming year be one of friendship, empathy and resistance (free from exploitation) We raise our glasses to your health, for you are not alone (Long live solidarity) Peter Mertens, chairman PTB-PVDA
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The PTB-PVDA has just launched the national campaign "A winter of solidarity" under the slogan "We leave no one behind". All over Belgium, 300 local PTB groups are implementing various solidarity actions in the coming weeks.
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Thierry Bodson, the president of the FGTB (socialist trade union), and sixteen other trade unionists were sentenced today for "malicious obstruction of traffic" to suspended prison sentences and fines ranging from 600 to 4,800 euros by the Liège criminal court. Thierry Bodson gets a one-month suspended sentence.
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Ministers have been neglecting health care for months, aren't they ashamed? Healthcare workers are at the end of their rope, but Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke repeats that the promised resources "cannot be released quickly". 'Today the health workers of Medicine for the People went out in their underwear in front of their health centers to denounce the government's policy that leaves the entire health care sector naked in the cold. Aren't you ashamed? We are not ashamed either!
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In our newsletter of September 10th, we announced the coming publication of the latest book by PTB-PVDA chairman Peter Mertens, They have forgotten us. The working class, health care and the coming crisis. Today we have the pleasure of inviting you for the evening launch of the French translation of the book, published by Le temps des cerises.
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If it depends on the preliminary opinion of the European Court of Justice, there will soon be a very liberal judgment against the statute of Belgian dockers. The Major1 Act could become an empty box, and there would be less space for unions and more for temporary employment agencies. Such liberalisation of port labour opens the door to social dumping. This matter does not only concern (European) dockworkers, but all workers who want more social protection, trade unions who want to have an impact and all those who stand up for a more social Europe.
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“This is the same policy as the previous government”, reacted PTB-PVDA chariman Peter Mertens to the announcement of the Vivaldi government's agreement (a government composed of the 4 major political families, like the 4 seasons: liberals, social-democrats, Christian-democrats and greens). “The liberals are making their mark: there will be no tax on millionaires, the pension age remains at 67, despite all the promises, and wages remain frozen. That's not what people voted for.” The PTB-PVDA promises a strong leftist opposition, both in Parliament and in the streets.
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As the 7 traditional parties (liberals, socialists, greens and christian democrats) are on the verge of forming a government, after 490 days of negotiations, trade union united-front rallies have taken place to put pressure on the negotiators and to put social priorities on the table.
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After 13 days of strike action, the workers of AB InBev have managed to bring the beer multinational to its knees and to obtain good progress in enforcing health regulations.How? A small glimpse of the ingredients of a victory.
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The German chain of discount stores Aldi belongs to one of the wealthiest families in Europe, and has registered record sales this year. This does not prevent management from saving money on the backs of the personnel. An unprecedented spontaneous strike turned into a first victory for the whole country. Aldi's staff and trade unions have obtained an extension of the special measures and compensation related to the coronavirus and, more importantly, they have won respect.
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The Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA) denounces the presence of former lobbyist Richard Bergström in the European Commission's negotiating team for the advance purchase of a vaccine against Covid-19. The left Party fears that Bergström's presence will guarantee agreements that are very favourable to the interests of the pharmaceutical multinationals, at the expense of citizens and social security. Marc Botenga, Member of the European Parliament for the PTB-PVDA, calls for transparency: "Show us the contracts."
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The French multinational Sodexo announces its intention to lay off 380 workers in Belgium. "This is unacceptable, " reacted Raoul Hedebouw, spokesman for the PTB. "They cooked food in hospitals, cleaning, etc. They are among the heroes of the crisis that kept society going." Their work has also paid off for the company, which made a profit of €1.2 billion in 2019. The PTB-PVDA proposes a move to the 34-hour week, which would save jobs.