Regular violations of rights

Same as last year


Workers' rights violations

Union busting

Following a strike notice issued by the SETCa at a seniors’ residence in Belgium, the local and regional company directors tried to intimidate workers during a staff meeting to dissuade them from taking part in the action on 20 January 2023.

Union busting

In Belgium, employers frequently attempted to dismiss union representatives without being able to justify serious misconduct or without respecting the prior authorisation procedure of the labour court, in order to undermine the work of the trade union delegation in the company. Some multinationals chose to illegally dismiss shop stewards and pay severance, rather than let them carry out union activities.

Dismissals for participating in strike action

During the national strike of 9 November 2022 in Belgium, following a blockage of the company CWS, a sanitation and hygiene service provider, a formal notice was sent by the employer to two workers with a threat of dismissal and a claim for compensation of €24,000 (US$26,300) for alleged loss of earnings due to the strike. Following the intervention of the unions, the company finally withdrew the compensation claim, but maintained the disciplinary sanction against the two employees.

Prosecution of union leaders for participating in strikes

On 23 March 2022, the Court of Cassation of Belgium rejected the appeal presented by the Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique (FGTB) against the unjust sentencing of 17 union members following a road blockade of the Cheratte bridge during a strike action in October 2015. In doing so, the Court confirmed the suspended prison sentences and fines already handed down.

In Belgium, article 406 of the penal code allows for prosecution and sentencing for “malicious obstruction of traffic” in the context of a strike movement. This provision severely hampers possibilities to organise strikes in the country. The FGTB has indicated that it will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Workers’ rights in law

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