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Demonstrations and blockades of companies: unions put pressure on the energy sector and the authorities

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:5 mins read

The FGTB and the CSC are leading a series of actions this Thursday against rising energy prices, in Wallonia, Brussels and Flanders. Disturbances are observed on the Tec network.

Several hundred people gathered Thursday morning, from 6:30 a.m., in Roux (Charleroi) in front of the Amercoeur power station operated by Engie-Electrabel. They want to denounce in particular the explosion of energy prices and the distress of households in the face of bills.

The action, dubbed “A sweater will not be enough”, is organized by the unions in a common front but is aimed much more broadly than at their “bases” since workers, job seekers with or without affiliation are invited. union but also the associative world. To the participants, the unions asked to bring a sweater that some hung on the railings of the plant.

By the signs displayed, the action resonated with the demands expressed a few days ago by the unions: blocking of energy prices, taxation of superprofits or even an end to energy privatization policies.

More than 400 demonstrators in front of the Namur headquarters of Engie-Electrabel

More than 400 demonstrators responded to the call of the FGTB and gathered, Thursday at dawn, in front of the Namur headquarters of Engie-Electrabel, noted the Belga agency in the Walloon capital.

The FGTB Namur announced on Wednesday the organization of a “shock action”, intended to protest against the excess profits of energy producers and the measures deemed insufficient taken by the public authorities to help workers face the energy crisis. According to the representatives of the FGTB present in Namur, between 400 and 500 people gathered Thursday morning shortly before 6:00 am in front of the Namur headquarters of Engie-Electrabel.

“It is a success insofar as our call has been heard. In addition to this visibility action intended to denounce the excess profits in view of the dramatic situation that many workers and citizens are experiencing, it is also a question of mobilizing with a view to the general strike which will take place on November 9”, explains Jonathan Hubert, regional secretary at the general headquarters of the FGTB Namur-Luxembourg.

Pains au chocolat and explanatory brochures were distributed to motorists on Boulevard de Merckem and demands were posted on the Engie-Electrabel building. Union representatives announce that their action will end Thursday mid-morning.

“Punch” actions in Hautrage and Feluy

Activists from the FGTB of Mons-Borinage and the Center carried out “punch” actions on Thursday in Hautrage, in front of the Engie Electrabel site, and in Feluy, in front of the TotalEnergie site. The aim of the movement was to denounce the “completely disproportionate and unfair” increase in energy prices (gas, electricity, fuel oil, pellets, etc.).

“Our various actions have been too little heard by the government. It is therefore necessary to continue to denounce this social injustice which will lead many people to be unable to pay their bills”, justified the FGTB, which carried out actions Thursday morning in several places in the country, with the aim of “raising the pressure before the general strike which will take place on November 9.

“Our action targets companies active in the energy sector”, explained Ahmed Ryadi (FGTB-Centre), in Feluy where some 250 activists were gathered on Thursday morning. “We clearly target the superprofits made on the backs of workers and companies. We demand the immediate taxation of superprofits, the freezing of energy prices and the nationalization of the energy sector which is too strategic to leave to the private sector.” “We have chosen a highly symbolic building, namely that of Engie Electrabel, which makes huge surplus profits on the backs of workers”, explained Jason Dieu (FGTB) in Hautrage, where some 400 activists had gathered. “We want the Belgian government and the European Union to immediately take concrete, appropriate, bold and united measures in the face of this historic emergency.”

Disturbances on the TEC network

Otherwise, disruptions expected on the Tec network. In some regions, bus traffic may be severely disrupted, warned the Walloon public transport company. Travelers are therefore invited to consult the Facebook page of the Tec or contact the call center of their region by telephone, this Thursday, to know the state of the traffic. An interprofessional strike is scheduled for November 9, following the actions of this Thursday, at the call of the FGTB and the CSC. The CGSLB will not participate in the actions of this Thursday, October 20. On the other hand, it supports the workers who will strike on November 9th.