Economy

Business

  • Half of Belgian employers would like to introduce a corona pass

    If it is up to Belgian entrepreneurs, the corona pass system could also be extended to the workplace. More than half of the companies are in favor of this, according to a survey by the HR services group liantis at 1.504 entrepreneurs. “Understandably, entrepreneurs are responsible for the safety of their employees. But for the time being, the law simply does not allow this," Liantis said.

    Last week it turned out that most companies are still sticking to corona measures such as a mouth mask and keeping distance at the workplace. One of the reasons for this is that they don't know exactly which of their staff has been vaccinated or not, so they don't want to run the risk of their employees falling ill.

    Enter corona pass

    It is precisely for this reason that half of the entrepreneurs surveyed would like to introduce a corona pass. Anyone who has not been vaccinated or cannot present a recent negative test would not be allowed to come to work. Although companies with more than 50 employees have recently been able to request the vaccination coverage in their organization through their occupational physician, this appears to be insufficient for the 47,2% and they would like to know exactly who has been vaccinated and who has not.

    Legally impossible

    “Of course we understand employers: they are legally obliged to ensure the health of their employees. And knowing whether colleagues in the workplace have been vaccinated or have recently taken a negative test can contribute to this,” says Matthias Debruyckere, legal expert at Liantis. “But for the time being, it is impossible as an employer to request a corona pass from your employees. The law simply doesn't allow that. In addition, employees should be free to decide whether or not to be vaccinated. Finally, it is not allowed at all for an employer to request medical data from his or her staff.”

    sensitization

    36% of the employers surveyed try to raise awareness in the workplace as much as possible in order to convince people of the usefulness of vaccinations. 25% would also like to offer corona vaccines in the workplace in the future.

    “It is a good thing that employers make their employees aware. We support them in various ways. In the past, for example, we set up Whatsapp lines and looked for ways to reach and inform employees as effectively as possible. As an occupational physician, we also see a lot of employees every day with whom we can talk confidentially about their choice of whether or not to be vaccinated. As long as there is no vaccination obligation, this is currently the most effective way to increase vaccination coverage. With regard to injections, we ensure good contacts between employers and the vaccination centers so that their mobile injection teams can visit the site if the vaccination rate is low," concludes Sylvia Vanden Avenne, head of medical supervision at Liantis.

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    corona vaccination
    corona vaccination

Trade union

  • Bus drivers lured away as truck drivers

    Problems arise in filling bus service rosters because drivers were lured away to fill vacancies as truck drivers. More than 4.000 bus drivers have now left the industry. Many have instead opted for the lucrative salaries they provide for truck drivers. The reason is a letter from the Ministry of Transport in September that was sent to one million employees. Paramedics, former army personnel and bus drivers qualified to drive vehicles weighing up to 7,5 tons were asked to fill the shortage of truck drivers.

    pay

    Unions argue that bus drivers' wages, which in some parts of the country are only EUR 11.80 per hour, need to be drastically improved to prevent them from leaving the sector. Average pay for truck drivers rose 12,8 percent between February and August as the driver shortage increased, according to analysis from job site Indeed.

    Dan Norris, the West England metro mayor, argues that the government's attempt to entice bus drivers to change careers and become truck drivers would exacerbate the chronic driver shortage. Tom Bartošák-Harlow, a spokesperson for the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT), a trade association that represents bus operators, told The Telegraph: "There will be bus drivers leaving to work in the trucking industry and we can't deny that it's case.”

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    shortage of bus drivers – Ash Grove garage in Hackney

    Unions' demands come after a series of planned bus drivers' strikes involving members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) broke down on Sunday. Members of the RMT employed by Stagecoach in the Southwest were due to leave on Monday. Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, said in announcing the planned action last week that bus drivers were leaving the sector "en masse" because of low wages. However, the planned strikes were suspended after last-ditch talks. 

    Strikes were also planned in Wales, where Stagecoach bus drivers are paid only EUR 10.95 per hour after the company rejected the demands of EUR 12.40 as "unaffordable". While the RMT's strike action has been avoided for now, Unite is planning a strike for the first week of November across many of Stagecoach's other franchises in Scotland, Wales, North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, and Kent. Other companies such as Arriva North West are also facing possible strikes.

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    Other companies such as Arriva North West are also facing possible strikes.