The Flemish Solidarity Trade Union (VSV) recently held its first New Year's reception. Key themes were industrial problems, and the struggle for genuine trade union freedom in Flanders.
The opening speech came from Wim De Winter, head of publicity at VSV. In his speech he criticized the pervasive culture of greed as the cause of the current malaise.
First, he identified a bias in favor of Wallonia and pointed out that the late Professor Hannes Juul calculated that never tax surpluses were transferred from Wallonia to Flanders.
A second form of the greed culture is expressed through the establishment unions who benefit through their quasi-monopoly on the payment of unemployment assistance. He identified the hundreds of thousands of foreigners from far and wide who came to the country, without them ever having to do anything or contribute to enjoy social security. He also slammed the growing number of Flemish people who relied on State aid when able to work. He identified this as an attack on the wallet of the ordinary person and said it left less for those in genuine need.
The government needed to get the “work unwilling” back into employment he declared.
The third form of greed culture is that of the international big capital, grouped in global cosmopolitan elite, skimming and stealing the prosperity of the people. Wim said he heard hardly anything about the responsibility of the banks in the Greek drama and especially Goldman Sachs. He asked ‘when will we now finally reacted against this modern form of exploitation?’
Then it was the turn of Philip Claeys, MEP for the nationalist party, Vlaams Belang. He gave an impassioned speech on the unfolding drama at Ford Genk, and the critical role of the European Union therein. "Ford Genk moves to Turkey, in the meantime every year billions of European tax money, subsidises Ford with a new factory built with cheap loans from the European Central Bank ... so again with European taxpayers' money. How long do we have to perpetuate this folly? "
Philip Claeys, MEP said that the only way to get Europe back a future was for the EU to slim down to voluntary cooperation between sovereign States, coupled with solid cuts in staff and institutions. Reducing the Eurozone to those countries that satisfy the rules should not be taboo."
The final speech came from Chairman Rob Verreycken. He welcomed as guests of honor those: "Who because of their Flemish conviction is an outcast for the three traditional unions, I welcome here today as guest of honor of the VSV!" Then he gave explanation of the test cases that the VSV leads to win real trade union freedom: "The Belgian court found in these processes no better than to give us a fine of 5000 euros because our demand for real trade union freedom was supposedly frivolous and vexatious! The intention was to make our process impossible by lack of funds. But the VSV appealed for support and behold: hundreds of people poured their contributions in, and our processes are unhindered. Leave a message for the whole clique belgicist: VSV is a pit-bull. If we bite, we do not let go! "
He also pointed to three causes of the current socio-economic malaise: the flow of money to Wallonia, mass immigration, and the Europhiles. But he concluded with a hopeful message: "The situation is serious, but there is hope, I could not believe it if I was not here. There have always been Flemings who stood up for the rights of themselves and their people. We know, as convinced Flemings that a different and better society is possible, based on solidarity: a society in Flanders, within specified limits, organized for and by Flemings, where the weak that need it are supported, the Flemings who are healthy and active can live by honest labor, the generations together hope and support. That is the message of hope of VSV, which this year we will continue to spread."
The first membership cards for 2013 of the VSV were sold at 12 Euro. Dozens of them already went smoothly from hand to hand. Member by overwriting via VSV account IBAN BE 58860116012079, with BIC SPAABE22; www.vlaamsesolidairevakbond.org more information. Solidarity here in the UK urges support of our sister Union in Flanders.
Editorial note: For those who don’t know Ford Europe announced on October 24, 2012 that it would close its Genk plant at the end of 2014, threatening 4,300 jobs.
Genk's closure, if confirmed, would be Belgium's second car factory decommissioning in two years, after General Motors (GM.N) scrapped its Antwerp site in 2010. It would leave the country with two assembly plants, Volvo's in Ghent and Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) Audi facility in Brussels. Ford also announced the closure of its Southampton, UK, Transit factory in October last year. It will close from July 2013 it was Ford's last vehicle manufacturing site in the UK and 500 jobs will be lost.