On Monday, May 22, some 20,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Brussels organised by workers’ unions aiming to send a clear message to the powers that be who persistently aim to restrict the fundamental rights of millions of people.
This came as a response to the growing concern that working conditions are set to worsen, as well as workers’ rights under increasing threat, including the right to strike.
For more than ten weeks, the employees of the Delhaize supermarket chain have been in revolt against the multinational’s plan to transform its supermarkets, which currently employ salaried workers, into ‘franchised’ shops.
Under this scenario, managers would have the status of independent workers who would have to assume all the risks and would have to employ lower-paid, non-unionised staff, including students.
The courts have repeatedly ruled against the workers who were striking, limited their right to protest against these reprehensible changes, and hand over freedom overwhelmingly in favour of the businesses as opposed to the workers.
The Belgian minister of justice is already, in fact, preparing a bill which would restrict the freedom to dissent in the form of protest under the guise of cracking down on rioters at demonstrations.
Monday’s mobilisation expressed the fierce determination of workers to demand that their fundamental rights remain in tact against yet another attempt on European soil to undermine and restrict people from, at the very least, reasonable pay and the possibility to stand up against wealthy businesses.
DiEM25 was present at Monday’s demonstrations, proudly being among the organisations standing up for the workers’ unions and the tens of thousands of people that they represent.
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