Tens of thousands protest Belgian austerity

AP News
Posted: Feb 21, 2013 7:35 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — Tens of thousands of workers are demonstrating close to European Union headquarters in Brussels to protest against austerity measures that have hurt income and to demand labor-boosting initiatives.

Thursday's march was organized by the main trade unions and sought to bolster the defense of social legislation that links automatic pay increases to inflation. The workers also called for measures to back employment.

Socialist trade union member Marc Palumbe said that some 40,000 were "demonstrating for higher purchasing power" and better social conditions for employees.

The Belgian government is currently in talks with unions and employer associations on the latest round of collective labor agreements, which allow groups of employees to negotiate their contracts together.