Regular violations of rights

Worse than last year


Workers' rights violations

Right to free speech and assembly

In Belgium, at the beginning of September 2020, a Molenbeek commune peacekeeper and CGSP trade union delegate was dismissed for having published on his Facebook page articles questioning government policies related to the management of the coronavirus. A support action was organised on 3 September in front of the town hall in favour of this worker's freedom of opinion.

Prosecution of union leaders for participating in strikes

On 23 November 2020, the president of the FGTB, Thierry Bodson, and sixteen other trade unionists were condemned for “malicious obstruction of traffic in the context of a strike movement” to suspended prison sentences and fines ranging from 600 to 4,800 euros (US$723 – US$5,782) by the criminal court of Liège. The seventeen activists were prosecuted for their participation in a general strike against austerity in 2015. These trade unionists were designated as those who had blocked the E40 highway in Cheratte during the strike of 19 October 2015.

This condemnation led to an outcry among trade unions and civil society organisations in Belgium, many describing it as an obstacle to democratic rights and underlining the need to urgently review Article 406 of the penal code which allows for prosecution and sentencing on this dubious ground. This was the second time in two years that FGTB members have been condemned on the basis of this Article.

Workers’ rights in law

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