Categories
News

Mass demonstration in Brussels due to lack of energy

Brussels, 21 September (EFE) — Thousands of people have demonstrated in Brussels calling on the country’s main trade unions to demand action to lower electricity bills and increase household purchasing power.

About 10,000 people, according to organizers, walk the streets of Brussels city center amid banners calling to “stop the price explosion”, “already find solutions for a life that is too expensive” or speak out against “torn purchasing power”. “.

“Many Belgians today cannot pay their gas and electricity bills. Wages are in short supply, so it’s time to help the people who work, live and today have to choose between paying their rent or paying their energy bills,” General Secretary Marie-Hélène Ska told Efe. Christian Trade Union Confederation (CSC).

Demonstration in Brussels for energy prices
EFE/EPA/OLIVIER HOSLETT

The electricity bill has “tripled” to be about 700 euros per month on average per household when the average income is around 2500 euros, so if “it’s already difficult” for the average household to pay, for someone below “it makes absolutely impossible to pay the bills,” explains Thierry Bodson, President of the General Federation of Belgian Workers (FGTB).

Unions demand more action in the face of the impact of inflation

While the Belgian government has taken steps in recent months to lower electricity bills, the country’s major trade unions – CSC, FGTB and the General Confederation of Liberal Trade Unions (CGSLB) – believe more action is needed to cushion the effects of inflation, which this month reaches 10.5% in the country, and above all cheaper energy.

They undertake, inter alia, to regulate energy prices at the national level, to set limits on gas at the European level and to tax the extraordinary profits of energy companies, as well as to prohibit power outages and interest on late payment of bills, to make permanent the reduction of VAT on energy to 6%, limiting rent growth and expanding social support measures, among other things.

“On the one hand, there should be a blockade of gas and energy prices at the European level. If not, then all states will give subsidies to citizens, but prices will continue to skyrocket. On the other hand, many companies in the energy sector have made significant profits by taking advantage of price gouging, and we should be able to use these profits for households that need it,” Ska said.

Demonstration in Brussels for the cost of energy
EFE/EPA/OLIVIER HOSLETT

It’s about creating new measures of revenue for the state, since today “aid is not enough” and “in the end, the state’s money goes to energy producers’ cash,” explains the president of the FGTB, who advocates taxing 50% of exceptional energy benefits. companies and approve tax reform that will put more pressure on sectors that currently pay “very little”.

After this first demonstration, which was uneventful and is expected to end in front of the headquarters of the Belgian Employers’ Association (FEB), the unions hope to organize more mobilizations in the autumn and, if the government does not take further action, a general strike on 9 November.

Web Edition: Rose Crown

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org