IMF calls for more austerity in Belgium on day of national general strike
Joint action by Belgian unions effectively shut production and services across the country on December 15 as unions continued their drive to roll back the government's austerity program. The same day, an IMF mission to Belgium expressed official support for the program, praising the extended retirement age and other measures but urging the government to "go still further" in cutting labour costs, public spending and social welfare programs.
Unions are united in opposing a program which reduces workers purchasing power by eliminating indexation, raises the retirement age from 65 to 67, limits collective bargaining and reduces support for young job-seekers, among other measures.
The mission was organized as part of the IMF's routine 'staff monitoring' of member states' economic policies - Belgium has not borrowed from the IMF.