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In its October 2022 report, the CFA held that the Belgian wage norm law constitutes a breach of ILO Convention No.98 (the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining).

This law, which was revised in 2017, stipulates that once every two years, a wage norm is to be adopted at cross-sector level, with the social partners’ participation. It involves setting a maximum margin for wage cost rises, which will then apply to the various levels of collective bargaining in the country. From the point of view of the complainant trade unions, capping wage rises in this way leaves the social partners no freedom of manoeuvre in the context of wage negotiations.

The CFA believes that the law is harmful to the social partners’ autonomy and that it is not the government’s place to use a law to determine the criteria governing wage negotiation. The CFA's request of the Government is that it take, in full consultation with the social partners the necessary steps to ensure that the social partners are able to freely determine the criteria on which to base their negotiations on wage increases at the intersectoral level, and the results of those negotiations.

The full report of the Committee on Freedom of Association can be found here.

For more information about the complaint and the wage norm law, see the press releases (in French) of the trade unions involved here (FGTB) and here (CSC-ACV).